Auckland Airport targets China in "Ambition 2020" growth plan
Auckland International Airport, the country’s biggest gateway, is targeting growth from Asia, and China in particular, saying the region is set to provide the biggest growth in visitor arrivals by 2020.
The Ambition 2020 plan aims to boost international visitor arrivals and increase the value they bring to the local economy, the airport company said in a statement. International visitor arrivals have the potential to grow to about 3.5 million by 2020, from 2.6 million in 2011, it said. The value generated for New Zealand from visitors could rise to about $8.5 billion from $5.75 billion last year.
"Asia, especially China, will provide the largest growth potential both in visitor arrivals and in the amount they will spend when they're here," said Glenn Wedlock, general manager aeronautical commercial.
China, which is New Zealand's second-largest export market, has the potential to generate over 430,000 arrivals in 2020 up from 160,000 currently, the airport said. The airport predicts direct visitors will increase to 170,000 in 2020 from 50,000.
"To do this - we will need to see air services between New Zealand and China reach around 3 times the number of direct flights today," Wedlock said.
Asia would contribute $2.9 billion to the forecast value target of $8.5 billion, with China alone adding $1.5 billion in value. This would be followed by Australia on $2.35 billion, North America on $800 million and the UK on $690 million.
The airport said it still has the potential to explore relatively untapped markets in the Sunshine Coast, Perth and Adelaide in Australia and Shenzhen, Qingdao, Shenyang and Chengdu in China.
Annual visitor arrivals rose 4.4 percent in the 12 months ending March 31, according to government figures. Visitors from China jumped 24 percent, while from Malaysia the increase was about 73 percent. Combined that amounted to 7.6 percent of total inbound tourists.
Growth for the whole of Asia was just 4.6 percent, less than half the increase for Africa and the Middle East on about 14 percent.
"This accelerated growth in value is not only good for our business, it is crucial to the entire tourism and trade sector and the New Zealand economy," said Simon Moutter, chief executive. "We intend to do this by working with our airline customers to attract more flights, preferably direct, on more routes from key source travel markets around the world, and by working with the industry to attract a more valuable mix of visitor segments."
"Ambition 2020 is our contribution to elevate the understanding of where growth in visitors will most likely come from and what initiatives we need to put in place or have more of to maximise their value as tourists," Moutter said.
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