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New Zealand Tourism Update

August 13, 2007 By: Stephanie Stephens Travel Agent

Trade shows discuss trends and the luxury market

Travel Agent recently attended two of New Zealand's top travel trade shows: Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand, or TRENZ, the country's largest annual international tourism event; and the private Pure Luxury New Zealand 2007, held at Treetops Luxury Lodge and Estate,which focused on the country's upscale travel offerings.  Minister of Tourism Hon. Damien O'Connor

TRENZ was held at the new Energy Events Centre in Rotorua, mid-North Island. The city is New Zealand's first real visitor destination with an enthralling 160-year history, 14 nearby lakes and blue-green mountains.

An event of the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA), with support from Tourism New Zealand and premier sponsor, Air New Zealand, TRENZ was billed as the first tourism trade show to be carbon neutral, an effort that shakes hands with New Zealand's pristine and idyllic green image.


Friendly Travel "We wanted to prove to our
international guests New
's commitment to good environmental
management in a tangible way," said TIA Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs. She
also cited the newly released Draft New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015, "which
sets out a vision that the tourism sector will take a leading role in
protecting and enhancing the environment."

Hon. Damien O'Connor, minister of tourism, noted that
"over the eight-year term of the plan, the world and New Zealand
within it, can expect to see accelerating change. There will be intensified
pressures from climate change, rapid evolution in consumer attitudes and
expectations, and further challenges to our security and biosecurity. The
extent to which New Zealand
and the tourism sector transform these challenges into opportunities will have
a major impact on our future prosperity."

Treetops Luxury Lodge & Estate, site of Pure Luxury New Zealand 2007

Opportunity was on the
minds of the 350 international travel and tourism buyers from 28 countries who
traveled to TRENZ 2007. Inside the two halls, 48 new exhibitors joined 67
returning businesses, for a total of 115 booths. Thirty percent was new
product, reported Luhrs, who cited adventure, nature and ecotourism as top

Trends in Travel

She noted "significant investments" being made by
major lodge developers and owners, a growth in top-class self-contained
apartments and holiday homes and a trend toward spa inclusion by New Zealand's
upper-tier properties.

Food and wine vacations capture a large market share, she
said. (The country now has more than 500 vineyards.) Need-to-Know

Acknowledging that many vacationers worldwide tend to spend
longer weekends at closer-by destinations, she feels the market for those who
"collect" or bank their vacation days for longer trips is still
extremely viable for New

Pure Luxury New Zealand 2007

The larger TRENZ show was preceded by the private Pure
Luxury New Zealand 2007, held at nearby Treetops Luxury Lodge and Estate,
renowned for its commitment to ecology and its superior level of service. It's
also famous for its driveway, which climbs, dips and turns through
representative native forest. Exhibitors and buyers were urged on by road signs
reading, "Keep Going."

Those in attendance ultimately enjoyed excellent company in
the world-class lodge on 2,500 secluded acres. Artful cuisine provided fuel for
energetic 20-minute talks hosted by 42 previously selected providers in
categories of luxury accommodation, transport, activities and marketing groups.
Post Pure Luxury, word on the Rotorua streets was that the inaugural outing was
a smashing success.

New Zealand and the Luxury Market

Luxury travel was also a subject at TRENZ, hosted by a panel
of New Zealand
specialists including Garrick Emms, marketing executive of the New Zealand
Lodge Association, and Louise Smythe, sales and marketing manager of the
legendary Huka Lodge, Taupo—generally
acknowledged as "the one that started it all."

Family travel is also a growing luxury segment. Emms
cautioned that it's impossible to ignore the trend of luxury accommodations
catering to families—often three generations—that choose a trip to celebrate a
special occasion and don't have a problem with "indulgence."

He answered the question, "What is a lodge?" by
specifying it as a property with more than four rooms but less than 20, set in
a unique location and serving up some iteration of MAP: pre-dinner drinks and
hors d'oeuvres, dinner and/or breakfast.

Could the luxury market be over-saturated? No signs of that,
answered Emms, who pronounced it robustly healthy. "We should be chasing
high yield versus numbers, though." He added that "one percent of
traveling Americans visit New
" and shared that a generally
accepted "guesstimate" is that one percent of that number go to
luxury lodges.

Smythe reminded attendees that it's a big world out there
for luxury: "Competition is worldwide." And he noted the luxury trend
of properties having a private residence concept, such as Huka's Owner's
Cottage. He said this trend is gathering momentum, and "we can't keep up
with the demand."

Luxury clients are well informed, so providers must deliver
the (luxury) goods, he warned. "Friends of friends are a point of contact
for many in this demographic. They do business deals as they go around the

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