The New Zealand government sees a sustained inflow of Filipino tourists, with the Philippine Airlines’s (PAL) soon to be launched nonstop flights between Manila and Auckland.
As the Philippines is officially in the crosshairs of New Zealand as a key tourism source market since 2016, the South Pacific nation is expecting at least 28-percent sustained inflow growth of Filipino tourists.
The impetus for this increased attention is the decision of PAL to mount a nonstop (or direct) flight service from Manila to Auckland starting December 6.
The flag carrier previously operated a Manila to Auckland flight via Cairns with four weekly flights. The direct flight will cut travel time from 12.5 hours to just 10 hours.
“Particularly over the last two years, the market’s grown significantly through the adding of extra capacity from PAL. We’ve seen a growth of 75 percent [in seat capacity] from this market. With the airlines to start flying direct, at three times a week on a A340, that’s an additional 21-percent increase in seat capacity in the market,” said Steven Dixon, Tourism New Zealand’s director for the Southeast Asia region.
In 2016 the New Zealand government tourism agency estimated some 23,000 arrivals from the Philippines to New Zealand, a 28-percent growth from the year before.
Dixon said they can at least sustain the 28 percent with the commencement of the PAL direct flights.
“I think we’ll continue to have double-digit growth,” he added.
The country is also home to some 40,000 Filipino expatriates.
The New Zealand government continues to target from the Philippines what it labels as “independent professionals” aged 25 to 52, and positions itself as a premium destination albeit numbers on the average expense of the Filipino traveler was not disclosed.
New Zealand is considered a premium destination in the Philippines as the cost of the tour packages is one of the highest amongst the different long-haul destinations.
Tourism is considered a key pillar of growth in the New Zealand economy. International visitors add around NZ $14.5 billion to the nation’s economy each year, while domestic tourism is a $20.2-billion industry.
To boost the country as a tourism destination, New Zealand is holding the business-to-business platform, Kiwi Link, for the first time in the Philippines from October 2 to 4.
The Kiwi Link event is hosting 39 tour operators from Singapore, Jakarta, Indonesia and the Philippines to name a few, and 31 from New Zealand consisting of accommodation, inbound operators and so-called experience tour operators.
New Zealand counts China as its largest Asian tourist market; Dixon mentioned an average count of 400,000 Chinese tourists visit the Pacific country yearly.