Auckland airport turns focus to Asian growth markets

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Auckland airport plans to increasingly focus on growth markets in Asia as traffic declines from its traditional European markets.

"Visitor trends indicate that 'traditional' tourism markets such as Europe and the UK remain firmly in decline, with only China, Australia and latterly India, currently growing," says the airport's chairwoman Joan Withers.

"Global markets are now increasingly Asia-centric and likely to become more so. A global race is now on to capture value from the massive rise in the Asian middle-class that is projected."

While there are more people travelling to and from New Zealand, the statistics show that there is a "fundamental shift in global travel demographics". Strong growth is occurring out of Australia, China and Southeast Asia, with declining travel numbers out of the USA, UK, Europe and Japan.

"Although some of this decline is related to air service capacity, much of it is because of underlying global economic factors that show little sign of reversing in the near term. This reinforces the need for the company and the country to adapt," says Withers at the company's annual general meeting.

"Our proactive route development strategy has delivered real benefits in the financial year under review, showcased by the growth achieved through the direct air-links into Asia."

New Zealand's geographical location gives it a disadvantage against other leisure markets, she adds. The airport works with the city and national government to maximise the country's marketing efforts and that has led to a 31% increase in arrivals from China, she says.