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Tourism Industry Urged To Court Luxury Travellers

Tourism Industry Urged To Court Luxury Travellers

New Zealand tourism should be focusing on unique high quality visitors instead of bulk numbers of tourists, a leading luxury travel operator said today.

Upmarket travel needs to be a key to the future of NZ tourism just as the NZ wine industry focuses on top of the range premium wines, Dunedin luxury lodge Corstorphine House owner Nico Francken said.

`As air prices go up, there will be less low budget travellers so our best chance of success is attracting luxury travellers for what should be our niche market.

``New Zealand will never get the mass tourist markets of other countries. Our tourism numbers are much lower than those of countries like Spain, Italy, Thailand, Tunisia etc.

``To be successful we have to concentrate on the high added-value visitors. The same applies to wine. NZ wines tend to be more expensive. Our small wineries cannot compete in price with the larger producers.’’

Francken made the comments on the eve of Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand (Trenz), to be held in Christchurch next week.

Francken said the Trenz show was for travel professionals who were rapidly loosing market share.

``More and more people are booking directly. In our business, travel agency bookings are down to about 40 percent of the total (from 90 percent five years ago). The tourism industry should concentrate its marketing more on the end buyers through magazines, newspapers, internet and word of mouth.

``Travel agents will again regain their place but they have to produce added value and charge for their services. Trenz is useful but, at the moment, Trenz buyers represent a decreasing market share.’’

Tourism New Zealand should concentrate a bit more on the up-market travellers.

``NZ tourism industry will only continue to attract up market visitors by offering them unique experiences, not just a copy of the luxury they enjoy at home. We should concentrate on activities, food and wine and scenery,’’ Francken said.

`We provide a unique resting place for upmarket travellers. We are a registered historic place and we provide an in-house environment and atmosphere that very few can match.

``We offer the facilities of a top country lodge and Cuisine magazine have voted us a finalist in their 2006 Restaurant of the Year awards.

``We have had Prince Charles stay two nights and he hosted a dinner. We have had other celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, and her male counterpart in the film Sylvia, Daniel Craig (the new James Bond).

``It is our objective to make Corstorphine House a destination by itself. We do that by emphasising the dining experience.

``We are attracting more locals who see why people from other places come to Dunedin to enjoy top quality food and wine.’’


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