Auckland Airport welcomes Air New Zealand's plans to increase direct aircraft capacity to Perth and the Sunshine Coast to help reinvigorate connections with regional Australia - a strategy important to the Airport's new Ambition 2020 initiative, which is designed to drive more value from markets such Australia and also Asia.
Auckland Airport's Ambition 2020 analysis shows Australia could provide $2.35 billion in visitor value to New Zealand by 2020 ($1.67 billion in 2011) from around 1.5 million visitor arrivals, up from 1.1 million in 2011.
Perth has been experiencing strong economic growth and has good tourism growth potential, according to Auckland Airport's Glenn Wedlock, General Manager Aeronautical Commercial.
"Air New Zealand's expansion of capacity to Perth fits with our plans to increase connections between New Zealand and regional Australia, in particular to high value energy markets such as Perth. Travellers also stay longer and spend more when they're here, but around 40 per cent of visitors come to Auckland via other overseas ports. Increasing direct capacity will really stimulate the market and provide better networks across Auckland for energy market connections," says Mr Wedlock.
The Airport also sees many more opportunities to deepen existing country markets through connections to relatively untapped Australian regions like the Sunshine Coast, Perth and Adelaide.
Mr Wedlock says Japan is another key market for New Zealand to target due to the high spending propensity of its travellers and its large number of high net worth individuals, and Air New Zealand's plans to expand its charter programme is encouraging.
"Our analysis as part of our Ambition 2020 initiative predicts we could see Japan getting back up to 100,000 visitors to New Zealand (up from 69,000 in 2011) and up to $300 million in visitor value by 2020, currently about $209 million at the end of 2011. Increased capacity in air services between the two countries is a key aspect in those growth ambitions and will help increase the value we can capture from this market," he says.
Auckland Airport believes the expanded Air New Zealand charter programme will provide greater connectivity for New Zealand and has the potential to grow connections and enable targeted marketing into regional Japan.
"New Zealand is an expensive destination, however, so we need to ensure we are competitive alongside the latest offers from Europe as well as find innovative ways to truly differentiate New Zealand and to target important new sectors such as the premium, affluent, traveller," adds Mr Wedlock.
More broadly, Auckland Airport believes by 2020 Asia will provide the largest growth potential both in visitor arrivals and in the amount they spend when they're here. Asia could provide $2.9 billion of the projected $8.5 billion in inbound tourism value by 2020.