"With the exception of strong tourism numbers from Australia, the industry has faced a tough year of declining visitor numbers from most of our key markets," says Air New Zealand Group General Manager International Airline Ed Sims.

"An improvement in visitor arrival numbers for September shows there is good potential for the industry and the Government should be congratulated for the funding boost which demonstrates its confidence in securing ongoing growth from New Zealand's highest export earning industry."

Mr Sims says the additional budget includes a structured approach of working with the private sector to source matching contributions and is the right way of maximising spend and results.

"The successful joint Air New Zealand-Tourism New Zealand campaign in Australia proved that contestable funds in conjunction with companies like Air New Zealand can deliver the right return on investment for the government, and ultimately, the taxpayer."

Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand in April each invested $2.5m in a joint campaign to attract more Australians to New Zealand. Australian visitor arrivals for the year ended September 2009 were up 8% with the ski industry experiencing a boon in Australian skiers and boarders.

Air New Zealand has been in discussions with the Government about matching funds for a marketing campaign in the critical North America market.

"While New Zealand gets a very small share of the 30 million Americans who travel overseas annually, it is a very valuable market for New Zealand which has suffered in recent months but has huge potential to grow," says Mr Sims.

The additional investment also announced for China with a focus on Beijing is critical for this burgeoning market.

"Up until this point there has been minimal investment for marketing New Zealand in Beijing, meaning Air New Zealand's own $100m investment in direct services from that city for the past 18 months has been in relative isolation. It is great to have material support from Tourism New Zealand now in both Shanghai and Beijing," Mr Sims says.



Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 9 336 2761