New direct service will fuel US visitor growth
Air New Zealand’s announcement that it will start flying direct to Houston, Texas will help our industry accelerate growth out of the important US visitor market.
The airline announced on 15 April that it will fly its refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Houston up to five times a week from December this year.
“The US is New Zealand’s third largest visitor market and one that is performing strongly off the back of a much improved economy and increased consumer confidence,” says TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts.
“US visitor arrivals totalled 220,512 in 2014, up 9.5% on the previous year, with strong growth continuing into 2015. A lot of that growth is being generated out of the western states. This new direct flight will open up opportunities to attract more visitors from southern and mid-west states and major east coast cities who can catch connecting flights into Houston.”
Chris says US visitors spent an estimated NZ$771 million in 2014, an impressive 32% increase on 2013.
“This new Air New Zealand service will continue to fuel that dollar growth as we know demand is ramped up by direct flights.”
Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said Air New Zealand’s commencement of flights between Houston and Auckland is a spectacular one for the industry.
“Visitor arrivals from the USA have been a stand-out performer in recent years, driven in large part by Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand’s work to capitalise on the Americans’ love of The Hobbit Trilogy,” says Kevin.
“This new service will enable us to broaden New Zealand's reach into the USA and the states that already deliver our second, third and fourth largest arrival numbers namely Texas, New York and Florida.
“Residents of southern states are known to travel during their summer to avoid the heat, which aligns perfectly to Tourism New Zealand’s strategy to encourage shoulder season travel.
“By providing visitors with an alternative to LA or San Francisco gateways we know that this announcement will have a significantly positive impact on the industry.
Chris Roberts says the Houston air connection is a great example of the tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework in action.
“Tourism 2025 identifies increased sustainable air connectivity as critically important to boosting the industry’s value from its current $24 billion to $41 billion by 2025. We also know that when a new sustainable air connection is established the whole industry benefits.”
Read Air New Zealand’s media release