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Competition Between Pacific Islands Heats Up

Media Release 12 May 2006

Competition Between Pacific Islands Heats Up

The competition for New Zealand travellers in the Pacific is heating up, with Samoa and the Cook Islands the big winners in the first part of the year, according to New Zealand’s largest travel retailer.

While trips to Fiji dropped slightly, the number of New Zealanders travelling to Samoa increased by 17 percent in the March quarter, while trips to the Cooks increased by 22 percent, an indication of the headway these destinations are making in the New Zealand market.

Flight Centre South Pacific product manager Raumati Wikaire said competition on air routes to both Samoa and the Cooks, and the fact that many New Zealanders were looking for a new experience when travelling, had been a major factor in the increase.

“With Virgin launching services to Samoa and Tonga late last year and increasing its services to Rarotonga, people are taking advantage of the drop in airfares, and exploring a little further afield.”

Samoa was also making a concerted effort to attract New Zealand tourists through ongoing marketing and media campaigns, adding to the overall increase in knowledge about other Pacific destinations.

Ms Wikaire said another attraction in these up-and-coming destinations was the maturing tourism infrastructure, which allowed for a wider range of budgets and interests.

“There are more hostels, but also more high-end properties, so people travelling to the Pacific now have a lot more choice. Also accommodation costs have fallen across the board, so Pacific travel really is cheaper than ever.

“Even the quality of restaurants is steadily improving, making the whole experience in a destination like Samoa world class.”

Flight Centre retail leader Jude Evans said the increased competition would continue to spell good news for the New Zealand traveller, as destinations improved their offering to lure the tourist dollar.

“New Zealanders have an ongoing love affair with the Pacific, and with the hospitality we are seeing from the islands today, it seems the feeling is mutual,” she said.


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