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Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed today between Indonesian carrier Garuda Airlines and Auckland International Airport will be welcome news for the tourism industry.
"A new carrier into New Zealand offers the tourism industry an opportunity to attract greater number of Indonesians in coming years," he says.
The MOU signals an intention from Garuda Airlines to begin a direct service from Indonesia to Auckland as soon as market conditions and aircraft availability allow. There are currently no direct services between Indonesia and New Zealand, although Air New Zealand is scheduled to begin a limited season of twice-weekly flights to Bali in June.
"Indonesia is a small but growing tourism market for New Zealand, with 11,824 visitors coming here in the year to February 2012 (a year-on-year increase of 22.5 per cent).
"Garuda's plans to begin a direct service to Auckland will be welcomed by everyone in the New Zealand travel industry, and comes at a time when South East Asia has become a new focus for TNZ's marketing work," Mr Bowler says.
TNZ is likely to increase its efforts in Indonesia in response to Garuda's announcement.
"We will be conducting further market analysis to learn more about Indonesia's travel trade and the habits of consumers, but we would certainly be interested in discussing joint-venture opportunities with Garuda and with Indonesian travel sellers with the aim of increasing the number of Indonesians visiting New Zealand.
"Partnerships with airlines and travel sellers are an essential part of TNZ's business strategy. It allows us to maximise the effectiveness of our off-shore marketing activities by combining forces with our partners. It allows us to increase consumer awareness of the range of experiences New Zealand has to offer, while helping build demand for an airline's services, and enhancing the reach of travel sellers' advertising," Mr Bowler says.