Japan back on radar of the Kiwi traveller
A new air link will boost the number of seats available to Japan, which is enjoying a resurgence of interest among Kiwi travellers.
Air New Zealand’s inaugural direct flight to Tokyo’s Haneda airport departed from Auckland on Friday night.
The Boeing 787-9 will service the route three times a week between July and May, giving Air NZ a second entry point to Tokyo.
The airline already flies to Tokyo’s Narita airport daily and to Osaka during the New Zealand summer.
Air NZ’s chief revenue officer, Cam Wallace, said the new service would boost capacity to Japan by 15 per cent, and upcoming events such as the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics would add to the already strong demand for travel between the two countries.
Japan is both one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing outbound travel markets and one of its biggest sources of tourists.
The number of Kiwis travelling to Japan jumped 25 per cent in the past year, and the number of Japanese visiting here grew 8.5 per cent to 101,606, making it our sixth-largest tourism market.
Brent Thomas, of travel agency House of Travel, said Japan had come back on the radar of New Zealanders.
‘‘Over the years there’s been a number of other destinations that have sparked the imagination of New Zealanders such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and they’re really good value for money.
‘‘But certainly there’s a number of New Zealanders now who are rediscovering Japan for what it’s got and it’s such an interesting place to visit.’’
Thomas said nearly 30 airlines were now visiting New Zealand thanks to the tourism boom, and that created wider travel opportunities for New Zealanders.
‘‘Flying today, it’s just getting better and better value and it looks like it’s going to continue that way with that competition.’’