Tourism bosses outline future at business lunch

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New Zealand’s customer service needs to improve to continue being a premium visitor destination, according to the country’s tourism marketing boss.

Tourism New Zealand CEO Kevin Bowler told Queenstown businesspeople at Winter Festival’s business luncheon today (Friday) that if the tourism industry wants to pull high-value visitors from markets such as Asia, then changes are needed.

Bowler referred to an example at a speaking function in Dunedin, when he was asked by someone, “Don’t they [Chinese] just have to get used to our services and the way we do things?”

The key is to get familiar with the cultures and expectations of overseas visitors, he says.
“There are a few things that we could do a little bit better…this town does it as well as anyone but we have got some opportunities to step up, I think.

“It might not take that much.”

Bowler was joined by fellow speakers Christchurch International Airport boss Jim Boult and Air NZ short haul airlines group general manager Bruce Parton.

The trio spoke about future directions for NZ tourism.

Bowler indicated the UK market is unlikely to bounce back anytime soon and the only growth from Europe will be from German-speaking nations and “slight increases” from Scandinavia and France.

He’s “increasingly confident” about numbers from the United States, but the real growth will be from China, Korea, South East Asia and India.

Bowler also backs the idea of building a convention centre in Queenstown.
“We absolutely support infrastructure,” he says.

“One of my concerns about the whole industry is that our aspirations are out-of-sync with our infrastructure.

“Having a convention centre here would be excellent. We want to attract more high-value visitors and the more infrastructure, the easier our job will be.”