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New Zealand to Host Famils Over Next Three Months

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Latest Travel News Send to Friend Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Tourism New Zealand is to host more than 85 travel agents over the next three months to get them up to speed with all the latest developments in New Zealandís tourism industry.

April, May and June are peak season for Tourism New Zealandís trade familiarisation programme and a total of 14 famil visits are due to take place over this time. A mixture of high-end product buyers and front line retail agents will visit New Zealand from the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Korea and Thailand.

"Overseas trade realise the importance of really knowing about New Zealand before they can confidently and passionately sell it," said Rachael Shadbolt, Tourism New Zealand Operations Support Manager.

Tourism New Zealand hosts around 20 famils each year, with over 160 agents participating in the programme in 2008/09. In March, 18 product managers from India and Japan were hosted, with the Indian group following the 20/20 cricket tour around the country.

"The global economic situation does seem to have had some impact, with the number of agents participating in famils slightly down on last year. This is due mainly to bans on business travel, company restructures and general cautiousness around forward sales," Ms Shadbolt added. "But we are still very busy."

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said it is important to continue building relationships with key travel trade partners, even at a time when demand for outbound travel in many of our markets has slowed.

"Training the travel trade and ensuring they understand New Zealandís tourism product is an important part of our work. Even in difficult economic times, building these trade relationships - and making agents passionate about New Zealand - is something we can continue doing in order to help ensure we come out of the downturn better than we went in."

Tourism New Zealand tries to keep trade famils to a minimum during peak season, as New Zealand operators donít have the capacity to host at this time. However, it is important to balance this with when the product buyers find it easiest to travel to NZ and this is why April is traditionally the busiest famil month.

"Participant companies are carefully selected and need to be well-established New Zealand sellers," said Rachael Shadbolt. "The aim of any famil is to then show participants regions of the country which they may be unfamiliar with and to maximise opportunities to showcase the product offerings in these regions."

"We can have a big impact not only in increasing knowledge, but in instilling excitement to sell New Zealand."

Tourism New Zealandís famil programme is coordinated in cooperation with the regional tourism organisations. Operators interested in participating should contact their local RTO to discuss opportunities.

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