High-end accommodation, restaurants and tourism attractions
in Queenstown are being experienced first-hand by Indian
travel industry leaders to sell to their growing number of
middle-class customers back home.
Tourism New Zealand and Malaysia Airlines are co-hosting five
travel company chiefs, three of whom have never visited New
Zealand before, plus a photo-journalist who will report about
their visit for a leading Indian travel publication.
The week-long tour brought the group from Christchurch to
Queenstown yesterday for experiences organised by Destination
Queenstown which included a scenic helicopter flight, a KJet
boat ride, lunch at Eichardt's Private Hotel and guided
zipline adventures with Ziptrek Ecotours, before they head
for Milford Sound today and Auckland tomorrow, to visit
Riya Travel and Tours director Thomas Mathai, of Cochin,
India, said they were in New Zealand ''to see and explore
what is on offer''.
''It pretty much is '100% pure'; all is quite pristine,'' Mr
''It's a honeymooners' paradise and we've seen a lot of
year-on-year growth with family travel. Kids love New
Mr Mathai said improved airline connections to New Zealand,
usually involving a two-hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur, were
making the country an increasingly popular holiday
destination for ''a new generation'' of affluent Indians and
a destination in its own right, as opposed to a tag-on to
Modern Indian tourists holidayed as a family, for five to
seven nights on average. They preferred to drive themselves
and ''want a different kind of experience,'' Mr Mathai said.
New Zealand education had a good reputation, which led to
families visiting students and even investment in New Zealand
Interest in wine was growing among India's middle-class and
young Indians were willing to try snowsports, although golf
had yet to capture the country's imagination.
India has been identified by Tourism New Zealand as an
emerging market, providing enormous opportunities for New
Zealand. India's strong economy is leading to a growth in
personal spending and outbound travel.
South and Southeast Asia regional manager Mischa Mannix-Opie,
of Singapore, said the visit was part of Tourism New
Zealand's efforts to build both awareness and travel
connections to New Zealand, to accelerate the growth of
quality visitor arrivals.