Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) has been named the most innovative tourism board at the Virtuoso Alliance Partner Awards. Virtuoso is an experiential, luxury-focused travel organisation.
This year ATEED was joined at Virtuoso Travel Week by supermodel Rachel Hunter in her first appearance as an international ambassador for Auckland.
“I’m a proud Kiwi. Auckland is where I was born and will always be home,” she says.
“It’s a beautiful place. The immediate connection you can have with nature, the city and the diversity of the people makes me proud of who we are as New Zealanders, and this is something I want to share with the world.”
Growth in Auckland’s luxury market
ATEED’s Brett O’Riley says there has been consistent growth from the Virtuoso market since Auckland’s inclusion as a destination in the network.
“Data from Virtuoso group shows that Auckland transactions in 2016 were valued at more than $USD 30.6 million, which was 5 per cent up on 2015, or the equivalent of $USD 29.1 million,” he says.
“Virtuoso travellers want unique experiences in everything from food and wine, culture and nature, with a strong focus on sustainable tourism.
“We’ve been working with the network to develop our Auckland offering and have introduced new products for itineraries to meet these needs. This has included creating an experience where visitors can name and release native birds at the likes of Motutapu, in conjunction with iwi and the Department of Conservation,” says O’Riley.
Attracting premium, high-value visitors from the US and China markets is a key strategic priority for ATEED in delivering on the aspirations of the Auckland Visitor Plan.