TRENZ trade fair, Rotorua

UK agents are key to helping New Zealand compete with short, low-cost holidays in Europe, according to Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton.

He said personalised service and product knowledge is vital to selling the country as more niche product opens up.

“Specialisation is the way things are going. Agents can put together a personalised, creative holiday, so they are well placed to sell that kind of product,” he said.

Travelmood marketing director Chris Lee agreed that traditional agent skills would remain vital to the market to New Zealand.

Hickton voiced concern over competition from Europe, highlighting an ad campaign by Norway that marketed itself as “closer than New Zealand”.