Air New Zealand opens direct route to Canada

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Friday, February 23, 2007

New Zealand's national airline, Air New Zealand has announced that they will be flying direct to Canada.

Flights from Auckland to Vancouver will operate three times a week between November and March, to coincide with the peak travel season between the two destinations, as Canadians escape winter and New Zealand skiers head to the Canadian slopes. 46,000 Canadians visit New Zealand and 16,000 New Zealanders visit Canada each year, starting at the end of this year.

The reinstatement of the Vancouver link restores a route phased out in the 1990s.

In 2006, Canadians set a new record with 46,000 travelers visiting New Zealand, which marks an increase of more than 10,000 visitors in just a little more than five years, but even more importantly, according to a survey focused on Canadian travelers in January of 2006, 99 percent returned home satisfied with their vacation to New Zealand and more than 95 percent would recommend the destination to their friends, family and colleagues.

—Roger Poulton, Air New Zealand Vice President – the Americas

Canadian visitors make up two percent of international visitor arrivals, however they stay longer and spend more in New Zealand than many other visitors spent an average of 29 days in New Zealand in 2006, and spent almost $3400 each. In total, they contributed $136 million to New Zealand's economy.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive, George Hickton has said that the direct flights will make New Zealand look much more appealing to the Canadian market. "This is great news for our tourism industry."

The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand say that the new route has the added benefit of freeing up seats on Air New Zealand's busy routes from San Francisco and Los Angeles.