Don’t leave town till you’ve seen the country!

This was the title of an ad campaign produced in the 1980’s for the New Zealand Tourist & Publicity Board. To my way of thinking, nothing much has changed in the message to all New Zealanders.

As you know, the ethos of Let’s Travel’s management has always been that the domestic tourism market is a vital one. We’ve always taken steps to encourage New Zealanders to travel locally by carrying enticing editorial on local hotspots. When times are tough, when the dollar is weak, and when global markets are cutting back on long haul
travel, it’s the domestic tourist that keeps many operators afloat.

The recent announcement by Jetstar of increased services will no doubt bring wry smiles from our domestic tourism sector. Yes, they’ll all no doubt be thrilled at the increased capacity … so long as the services are on time and Jetstar’s infamous reputation doesn’t have the opposite effect. The airline has added an extra craft to their fleet, growing the number of seats on the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch services by some 600,000 seats a year. That’s a vast number of potential new and repeat business for the likes of accommodation providers, adventure and tourism operators and restaurant and bar owners.

The airline is also increasing flights across the Tasman on the Queenstown route. Now this is exciting news as it has potential to raise the level of Australian visitors to our shores well above the current 1.2 million we currently welcome each year.

I am with Tourism Industry Chief Executive, Martin Snedden, here. The flow-on effects of the increased services will indeed benefit members around the county by growing our largest source of international visitors.

It’s hats off too to ATEED (Auckland Tourism Events & Economic Development), who have recently launched a local marketing campaign, as have Tourism Northland.

New Zealand is a country that, as a whole, remains vastly unexplored by its natives. Visitors often get to see more of this country’s unspoiled beauty than we do, and that’s such a shame! By setting your holiday sights on a local target, not only will you learn to appreciate what it is that brings foreign tourists from opposite ends of the globe to our shores, you’ll also be doing your bit to maintain Kiwi businesses.

Summer is nearly here so start planning your next local trip … whether that’s a long weekend in Matakana, a week discovering the West Coast, or a month touring both islands in a campervan.

Travel far, travel wide – just keep travelling!

“Not all those who wander are lost” — J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973)