Campaign to entice Japanese visitors
Cheap flights and Hobbits are part of a plan to double the number of Japanese visitors to New Zealand in the next five years.
Air New Zealand today announced a new campaign to entice Japanese travellers between April and October.
Return fares from Japan would start at 75,000 yen (NZ$880), a discount of more than 30 per cent on the standard lead-in fare.
Japan was New Zealand's fifth-largest source of international visitors with more than 3 per cent growth in 2013, Air New Zealand general manager Japan Scott Carr said.
"Japanese tourists are some of New Zealand's highest-spending visitors and encouraging more to travel to New Zealand has benefits for both the airline and the country's tourism industry," he said.
The airline had a target to double visits from Japan by 2019.
Carr said Air New Zealand was working closely with Tourism New Zealand within the Japanese market to encourage more tourists during the quieter shoulder season.
Tourism New Zealand regional manager Japan Nick Mudge said demand over the peak New Zealand summer months had been extremely strong.
The launch in Japan of movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in late February was likely to increase interest, he said.
Air New Zealand operates daily return services between Narita in Tokyo and Auckland.
Capacity was set to increase from November this year with the introduction of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route.