The New Zealand tourism industry is saying a big "Thanks a Million"to Australian visitors to celebrate the record of welcoming a million Australians in a 12-month period.
Figures released by Statistics New Zealand today showed that over one million visitors (1,001,880) arrived from Australia in the year to May.
To celebrate, Tourism New Zealand is today launching the "Thanks a Million" promotion in which Australians will go in the draw to win a millionaires holiday in New Zealand.
The holiday will include return business class Air New Zealand tickets. Navigate Oceania has arranged nights in some of New Zealand’s top luxury lodges - The Boatshed (Waiheke Island), Treetops Lodge and Wilderness Experience (Rotorua), Wharekauhau Country Estate (Martinborough), Remarkables Lodge (Queenstown).
The promotion will be run online and promoted through New Zealand’s i-SITE information network.
"This record is an important milestone for the New Zealand tourism industry. It shows that the increased focus we have put on the Australian market over the last twelve months to offset reductions in other markets has paid off," Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said.
Since the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign started 10 years ago the number of Australian arrivals has doubled from just over half a million in the year to May 1999.
The "Thanks a Million" competition goes live today and will run for two weeks.
The Government made an additional $2.5 million of funding available in March specifically for promotional work in Australia. This has resulted in Tourism New Zealand being able to up-weight its marketing from April through to the end of June.
This campaign was matched by Air New Zealand’s "The Big Shout" promotion (19 April - 10 May 2009). The tourism industry also supported the Tourism New Zealand campaign with deals and offers.
Air New Zealand's Group General Manager Short Haul Airlines Bruce Parton said the airline's own $2.5m campaign effort in Australia resulted in a dramatic increase in trans-Tasman and domestic bookings.
"Trans-Tasman bookings as a result of the campaign for May and June travel were up 50% while domestic flight booking add-ons increased by 132 per cent.
It means there have been an estimated 15,000 Australians visiting regional New Zealand these past two months," Mr Parton said.
Mr Hickton said "In partnership with the New Zealand tourism industry we have been able to break through the million Australian visitors in what has been a challenging year."
A favourable exchange rate, good airline capacity and competitive airfares have also been positive factors affecting the Australian market in May, he said.