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Kiwis flying to Norfolk Island

1 February, 2005

Kiwis flying to Norfolk Island

Travellers from New Zealand are visiting Norfolk Island more than ever before. New Zealand visitor numbers to the sub-tropical island in 2004 are up 40 per cent on the previous year.

Last year 9,280 passengers flew to Norfolk Island from Auckland, up from 6,619 in 2003. The increase was fuelled by cheaper airfares and a conscious effort by the island’s tourism authorities to target younger travellers.

The increase was also partly attributed to the addition of a Norfolk Jet service to the island in September 2004. Norfolk Jet, an Australian-based airline, discontinued the service in January.

Even so, Air New Zealand passenger numbers in 2004 increased 25 per cent according to Bruce Walker who heads Norfolk Island Tourism.

“Air New Zealand’s new Tasman Express fares have combined well with our increased marketing effort and the airline’s promotions,” Mr Walker says.

The New Zealand airline introduced its lower fares late in 2003 resulting in an immediate jump of 36 per cent in the number of Kiwi visitors. Mr Walker says the numbers have been maintained with September 2004 a record month.

“More than 1,200 people arrived in Norfolk Island from New Zealand that month, more than double the number for the equivalent month in 2003 when the figure was 516.

“We pack a lot of things to do in to our 40 square kilometres and our marketing strategy has been to spread the word that there’s something for everybody on the island,” Mr Walker says.

“Food and wine, jazz, karate, surfing, golf, writers’ festivals, drama and opera – there really is a kaleidoscope of activities for visitors and we have been highlighting this diversity in New Zealand.

“It’s been very successful and obviously we’re delighted with the numbers.”

One way Tasman Express airfares to Norfolk Island now start as low as $125 if you book over the Internet, Mr Walker says.

9,280 people flew the 930 kilometres from Auckland to Norfolk Island in 2004, an increase of 2,661 over the previous year. Most popular month was September when 1,241 people landed followed by October (1,157) and December (990). Air New Zealand operates two weekly services on Sundays and Wednesdays on its Boeing 737-300 series aircraft and the flight takes about 1hr 45mins.

About Norfolk Island: Discovered by Captain Cook in 1774, Norfolk Island was first settled as a British penal colony in 1788 through to 1856. On June 8, 1856, the island was re-inhabited by a community from Pitcairn Island, descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. Known today as Norfolk Islanders they form a majority of the 1800 resident population. Norfolk Island is renowned for its spectacular coastal scenery, colourful history, sporting and cultural activities, convict heritage and tax-free shopping.

ENDS

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