Airline bigwig shown Queenstown’s jewels

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A leading airline’s Australasian vice president has been given the VIP treatment in Queenstown – after brokering a deal to service the resort.

Emirates bigwig Barry Brown enjoyed a whirlwind familiarisation trip last week.

The Dubai-based carrier’s proposal to share services between New Zealand and Australia with Australian airline Qantas was given government approval last week.

Brown says: “I fell in love with New Zealand several decades ago but have never previously visited south of Christchurch.

“Queenstown is a hidden gem that reminds me so much of Europe with high peaks cradling picturesque towns and villages.

“Our recently approved trans-Tasman partnership with Qantas will open Queenstown to the entire Emirates network allowing ease of access for many more international visitors.”

The sharing deal allows Emirates to offer Queenstown as a destination and provides access to Emirates international network in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Hosted by Tourism New Zealand Australia general manager Tim Burgess and Destination Queenstown boss Graham Budd, Brown spent 24 hours in the region – managing to fit in a golf course visit, gondola ride, scenic helicopter flight, several bungy sites and a taste of Central Otago’s food and wine.

Budd says the new alliance is a win-win for visitors and for Queenstown, providing more options and flexibility for short and long haul visitors.

“I was delighted to have the chance to show Barry some Queenstown highlights within a day of the new Emirates-Qantas alliance getting the green light,” Budd says.

“It means that Emirates will now be able to offer Queenstown as a destination to their customers around the world, reinforcing our appeal as a short haul holiday destination to Australians and making us more accessible to long haul visitors thanks to Emirates’ extensive reach and network.”