From helicopter hunting and hiking to super yacht refurbishment, wining, diving and golfing, the Kiwis are hosting more elite travelers (during peak periods airports can run out of parking space for private jets). Jordan’s King Abdullah II recently visited and included racing jet boats on a river and touring cars on a high performance track.
A proliferation of vineyards and golf courses has diversified the country’s appeal further, and a trip to New Zealand often leads to a return visit and investment. Julian Robertson, James Cameron and Roger Penske are elite travelers who have also made business investments in the country.
“There’s a greater focus towards premium. It’s a segment that held up better than most in the last five to 10 years and improved faster than most. It’s a global target – in phases – North America, UK, Germany, Japan, parts of Asia, Russia, Middle East and Brazil,” New Zealand Tourism’s General Manager Gregg Anderson disclosed during an interview at ITB in Berlin, the world’s largest travel fair.
While New Zealand doesn’t have a high inventory of high-end hotels, its “high end lodge product” offers “rustic properties in exquisite surroundings,” according to Anderson. The segment has been growing. “We have been getting more private villas. Traditionally it was 10 to 12 bedroom lodges, then lodges with owners cottages, and now owners cottages and private villas,” he noted. Luxury tent accommodations are popular for hikers and trophy stag hunting.
“The wine industry has really given us a foundation (for visits to vineyards). Now we have championship golf courses, so you can get a vineyard and golf experience” and more elite travelers are combining the two. What distinguishes the experience of visiting New Zealand’s relatively new vineyards is “you spend time with the owner and the winemaker.”
Ocean Magazine noted, “New Zealand’s excellent reputation for superyacht build, refit and related services has been enhanced internationally,” and Anderson pointed out, “yacht refurbishment attracts owners to visit and then they keep the yacht down here. The beauty is lots of easy cruising water, world class diving.”