In its new Travel Trends 2012 report, flight comparison site Skyscanner has revealed that Australia and New Zealand are seeing a resurgence of interest from the British travelling public. Skyscanner, which has over 15 million users a month, analysed its vast data on user flight searches to produce the report on global travel trends.
Both countries have long had close ties with the UK with strong tourist traffic going in both directions, but the report reveals that interest has increased during 2011. Flight searches to New Zealand were up by 35.4% (making it the fourth biggest rising destination in Skyscanner’s report) and flight searches to Australia were up 24.9%, making it the 20th biggest rising destination.
Travel to New Zealand was boosted significantly by the Rugby World Cup which took place during autumn 2011. The total number of visitors arriving for the rugby has now been confirmed at 133,200 against a forecast of just 95,000 for July through to the end of October.
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler hailed it as a fantastic result. He said: “We promoted the New Zealand message hard around the tournament and so expected to see this sort of growth from traditional rugby-loving nations like Australia (up 17,200 people, 21.2%), South Africa (up 4,900 people, 417.4%) the UK (up 2,800).”
This increase in interest is expected to have a knock-on effect for tourist visits to New Zealand in 2012. When Germany hosted the football 2006 World Cup, tourism bosses reported an increase in travel to the country for the following 24 months.
Australia’s boost in interest is thought to be partly attributed to innovative advertising campaigns with partner airlines targeting the UK market. In 2010, Tourism Australia partnered with Emirates, while in February this year, an GBP800,000 advertising campaign with Singapore Airlines had both TV and online slots to boost visitor numbers in the wake of flooding in Queensland and wildfires in Perth.
In autumn 2011, Tourism Australia also worked with ITV on a major broadcast campaign with UK breakfast show Daybreak. The promotion, in partnership with Qantas, saw 50 winners and their companions head to Australia, with their holiday adventures featured on the television programme from November 7-11, generating excellent publicity for the country. Tourism Australia also sponsored Paul Merton’s Adventures, a UK Channel 5 travel programme running for six weeks from October 19.