Anaheim continues to re-invent itself and offer new attractions and hotels for repeat visitors – but Disney remains the ‘anchor’ attraction, says Charles Harris, senior vice president of Visit Anaheim.
Part of a 15-strong delegation that held a lunch for senior industry peeps in Auckland yesterday and full-on trade event for about 200 last night, Harris says the city has ‘Disney and a lot more.
Chris Lyons from World Journeys reports a growing demand for stopovers in South America en route to Europe. ‘With a wider range of airfare options in conjunction with the Air New Zealand flight to Buenos Aires, sales to Argentina in particular are brisk,’ says Lyons.
Three of New Zealand’s key wholesalers have joined forces to promote travel to South America. Adventure World, Viva Expeditions and World Journeys say the time has come to get more agents onboard with the huge potential they all believe exists to grow sales.
‘South America is one of the fastest growing destinations for NZ travellers and agents need to get upskilled to get their share’, the committee says.
‘What’s driving this demand is multi-fold,’ says Chris Lyons of World Journeys. ‘There is now far greater air capacity to South America, which will be demonstrated by the participation of Air New Zealand and LATAM Airlines, both of whom are providing generous prizes of return tickets for two to South America. Aerolineas Argentinas joins the carriers in covering the continent.
‘There has been a vast improvement in infrastructure over the years, and clients can now enjoy world class hotels, cruises and touring options that make South America all the more accessible. Yes you can find the international brands such as Hilton and Marriott, but there is also a great range of boutique hotels bursting with character and local flavour.’
Also being featured at the evening is Antarctica, currently more affordable than ever. The potential to present Patagonia in conjunction with an Antarctic cruise creates valuable up-sell options.
Dave Nicholson of Adventure World says Kiwi travellers, including both young professionals and baby boomers, are always looking for somewhere new and exciting to travel.
South America on Show in Auckland on 29 August will focus on destinational knowledge, rather than each wholesaler flying their own flag.
‘We know some agents view South America as 'too hard' so we aim to get more of them up to a level where they are familiar with the highlights, and are able to deal with initial enquiries,’ says Rachel Williams of Viva Expeditions. ‘They then can be confident in accessing the expert information and advice available from their wholesaler to progress the booking. The earning potential is huge. These tend to be high value bookings, and once an agent becomes confident in selling South America, and even gets a name for it, the sky’s the limit.’
Invitations to the 29 August event in Auckland are being sent out this week. Due to demand, space will be limited.
New experiences coming to Disney Parks and Resorts have been unveiled by chairman Bob Chapek at an expo in Anaheim over the weekend. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is the newly announced name for Disney’s Star Wars-themed lands. Chapek gave details and a glimpse inside the two anchor attractions, including one that puts guests in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Visitors will feel like they are inside a hangar bay on a Star Destroyer.
Memphis and Nashville are two destinations that agents should be promoting to clients who have already done the West Coast and major cities in the United States, Consul General Melanie Higgins told SKAL Auckland yesterday.
But when it comes to a place a little more off the beaten Kiwi track, Savannah, Georgia comes up tops for the diplomat.
Higgins was a guest speaker at the SKAL Auckland lunch, which had a 4th of July theme, despite being held a couple of days later.
Helping agents join the dots between major cities for their clients and giving them more depth in what they sell were key objectives of the Travel South USA event in Auckland on the 19th June.
Grey Brennan, of Alabama Tourism Department, is one who would like more Kiwis to get off the beaten southern track.
Incentive travel organisers from around the world, including 13 New Zealanders, are in the Hawaii Islands this week for the first Experience Aloha Business Exchange, spearheaded by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Ahead of the exchange, officially starting today, groups from New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and Europe headed to Hawaii’s Big Island to check out active volcanoes, waterfalls, snorkelling, zip lining, hiking and golf.
Debbie Hogan, senior director of sales for the Big Island Visitors Bureau, says holding the exchange on the Big Island was a big win for the bureau, as the island hasn’t always been first choice for visitors to the tropical destination. But with more and more direct flights
‘Perplexing,’ is how US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow has described the proposed elimination of the Brand USA tourism marketing agency in President Trump's federal budget document.
With the country’s major travel trade event underway in Washington DC this week and international visitation being the number two export supporting 15 million American jobs, Dow is ‘struggling to understand' how cutting Brand USA squares with the administration’s stated priorities.
The proposed budget cut for Brand USA was not the only ‘elephant in the room’ when the organisation’s president and CEO Chris Thompson addressed 500 media from 70 countries at the official IPW 2017 press conference in Washington DC yesterday.
The other was President Trump’s not particularly welcoming executive order limiting travel from six predominantly Muslim countries.
By Lisa Bradley
While overall visits to the US appear to have taken a hit following the release of President Donald Trump’s banned list, hardy Kiwi travellers are still eager to tour there this year.
New Zealand trade reports Kiwi interest in the destination has not waned under Trump’s leadership, and House of Travel, The Travel Corporation and Flight Centre predict the US can continue to enjoy healthy visitor numbers from here.
The Kiwi position appears to buck international statistics, revealed this week by ForwardKeys. The travel analyst’s figures show there had been a 6.5% worldwide drop in travel to the US in the week following Trump’s 27 January release of his seven-country
Organisers of incentive travel, corporate retreats and other group movements are being urged to think beyond Buenos Aires when recommending Argentina to their clients.
Maria Jose Barciela, marketing director of boutique travel operator Across Argentina, has been living in Auckland and working the New Zealand and Australian markets since April this year.
Born and bred in Buenos Aires, Barciela says she loves the city but that Kiwi organisers and delegates will find Argentina’s real gems beyond the city boundaries. ‘Of course, people can find that city experience but Argentina’s natural attractions are amazing. At the same time they will find a high level of service, and international standards.’
Brand USA has put the microscope on the needs and strategies of the Kiwi industry selling into America.
Matt Fletcher, who was named the Brand USA Australia and New Zealand director a month ago, was in Auckland for three days talking to major retailers and wholesalers, determining how the organisation can partner more closely to trade here. ‘There is increased opportunity with the increased airlift, but that also creates a need to maximise that opportunity so we get even more momentum,’ Fletcher says.
Brand USA is now sourcing new products to further entice Kiwi travellers to its shores. There has been a strong focus on America’s great outdoors this year, and in 2017 attention will turn to pop culture. ‘There is no destination like it in the world for this… sports and concerts are not an established product here, and it’s going be an area of opportunity for us.'
Brand USA in conjunction with the US Ambassador, Mark Gilbert, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the US National Park Service with a VIP screening of the documentary America Wild: National Parks Adventure at Auckland’s IMAX theatre this week. America Wild, filmed in more than 30 national parks across the USA with IMAX 3D cameras, follows three adventurers as they hike, climb and explore their way across a few of the USA’s national parks.
In town for the launch, Anne Madison chief strategy and communication officer for Brand USA says it was appropriate to screen the movie here as New Zealanders have a shared interest in preserving their parks. ‘There is a juxtaposition between the outdoors and the city in New Zealand insofar as Kiwis are never too far from the outdoors and are regarded as natural explorers. With this movie, we want to show what unexpected surprises are in store within the US National Parks.’
There are more than 400 state and national parks throughout the USA and Madison says more national parks have been established under this current president than previous. ‘He is a positive influence and wants to ensure the protection and preservation of the great outdoors,’ she says. ‘So many Kiwis would not be aware they are