Tourism booming post royal tour

KATIE KENNY
Last updated 14:40 09/05/2014
Prince Harry and Kate Middleton
Getty Images

ROYAL TRIO: Interest in travel to New Zealand has increased significantly after the royal tour. We can only hope that Prince Harry comes along on their next visit.

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New Zealand tourism is booming in the British market thanks to the royal tour, with Wellington the new favourite destination, data shows.

 Hotel searches for New Zealand made by Britons increased by 70 per cent following the visit last month by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and baby Prince George.

 The data, collated from hotel search website trivago.co.nz, showed the biggest increase for Wellington, where searches went up 169 per cent compared to the the week before.

 William and Kate were based in Wellington during their time in New Zealand, but took trips to Blenheim, Auckland, Cambridge, Dunedin, Queenstown, and Christchurch.

 During the first week of the family's visit to Wellington (April 7 to 13), hotel searches increased by 81 per cent compared to the week prior. During the week of their second visit (April 14 to 20), searches increased 169 per cent.

 Denise Bartlett at Trivago UK said the Down Under tour was great for tourism in both New Zealand and Australia - although the latter had a less impressive overall increase of 32 per cent.

 "It is surprising that travel interest to New Zealand was significantly higher than Australia - perhaps this can be attributed to a higher level of media coverage at the beginning of the visit," she said.

 New Zealand was also named the UK's No 1 dream holiday destination in the British edition of Trip Advisor's biannual TripBarometer study, which came out this month.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said it was rewarding to see that kind of response given the organisation's efforts to push destination messages during the tour.

"We have seen thousands of articles appear in the press, online and on TV particularly in the UK and USA, but also in markets like Germany, and the coverage has been overwhelmingly positive about the country," he said.

"The equivalent advertising value of this coverage would run into the tens of millions of dollars."

The positive stories around the royal visit, particularly iconic tourism experiences like the Shotover Jet and sailing on the Waitemata Harbour, helped reinforce New Zealand's image as a visitor-friendly destination.

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