New Zealand will soon be a step closer for thousands of Americans with the announcement today of a new direct daily Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Auckland.
The new service, from one of America’s biggest air hubs, will start in November 2011. The new route will open up the East and central US, and connecting flights into Europe.
Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Auckland welcomed the announcement as a great development for New Zealand.
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said New Zealand has strong appeal as a specialist destination with North Americans, particularly those interested in the outdoors, adventure and culture.
“Our research shows that US visitors are New Zealand’s most satisfied international travellers, rating their visits at 9.4 out of 10, and they are keen to recommend New Zealand once they’ve been here.”
Mr Bowler said the new service was a great opportunity for New Zealand to attract more visitors from the US where Tourism New Zealand was actively working to build New Zealand’s profile.
“Auckland is a great arrivals point for Americans wanting to explore the region and wider New Zealand,” he added.
Tourism Auckland Chief Executive Graeme Osborne said as the country’s largest and most globally connected city, Auckland welcomed over 70 percent of international arrivals to New Zealand.
“This commitment from Continental Airlines is a significant coup in Auckland’s ability to host more American visitors. Securing direct air links from the second largest US state is a huge win for destination Auckland.”
Tourism Auckland has worked in partnership with Auckland Airport to help secure the direct Houston to Auckland flights.
“We’re looking forward to working with Continental Airlines on marketing activity to build awareness of Auckland as a visitor destination and to drive increased visitation, length of stay and spend,” Mr Osborne said.
“This excellent result is testament to the airport’s commitment to developing new routes, coupled with its international reputation as one of the world’s top ten airports,” he added.
As well as a direct connection to Houston, the new route will open up opportunities for the European market with connecting flights through Houston out of London, Amsterdam,
Paris and Frankfurt.
Mr Osborne said Continental Airlines’ entry into New Zealand complemented existing market development work in North America by other airlines.