Rise Up America
For many Americans, New Zealand is a small island next to very big Australia and when you visit one, you visit both. Because New Zealand is smaller, it won’t take as long. You can probably drive around it in a few days .. right? There’s evidence to suggest at least 40% of Americans visiting New Zealand also visit Australia on the same trip. In ten days. The percentage is even higher for cruise ship and coach tour passengers.
Complicating things further is the dateline. Have a look at this clip from ‘The West Wing’ as the President’s staff try and figure out the time on the other side of the world; NZ is only 12 hours overnight flight away, but in many itineraries it looks like three days. If you’ve ever travelled ‘coach’ on an American airline, you’ll marvel that any Americans make it here at all.
Wellington has some additional challenges. We’ve never been part of the ‘Golden Route’, the traditional itinerary from Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown and we’ve got to share time with Australia. ‘What do you mean we can’t do Fiji too???’
I recently attended Kiwi Link North America with Interislander and Te Papa. The ‘School of Cool’, leveraging Wellington’s Lonely Planet accolade, was a hit. The travel agents liked the sound of our compact city, star spotting in Wellywood and knew about lots of the tours and attractions, not to mention our wine region and luxury lodge just over the hill.
The agents reckon the biggest barrier to getting Americans to Wellington is their low amount of vacation time. So rise up America– demand the vacation leave of civilised nations and then you’ll have time to spend two nights in New Zealand’s Capital of Cool.
Which got me thinking – what would you do if you only had 10 days annual leave a year?