The snow-capped mountains near Hanmer Springs on New Zealand's South Island. (Photo by GREG WOOD/AFP via Getty Images)

New Zealand expects Indian tourists to be among the top three high value leisures in 2020 in their country, an official said.

The country, which identifies India as a “key priority market” for tourism and also as one of the “most potential” market for long-term value, is using the “mutual love of cricket” as “hook” to attract Indian leisures.

“I would see India as top three most valuable market over the next year,” New Zealand Regional Trade Manager – South & South East Asia Steven Dixon told PTI.

At present, India is among top ten markets in number of tourist arrivals in New Zealand but in terms of value it is higher.

“We have identified 15 markets, which we believe have the most potential to give long-term value to the New Zealand economy and India has been identified as one of those core markets,” he said.

According to him, when Indian travellers come to New Zealand, they have around 20 activities there, which is “more than the average during their stay”.

“So they are incredibly valuable to the New Zealand”s economy and as a consequence of that it is one of our key priority markets,” he added.

In 2019, around 65,000 Indians visited New Zealand, in which around 27,000 went for holidays and the rest for business and other purposes.

High-value travellers spend more, stay longer and disperse more regionally. They travel long haul and have a preference for holiday destinations.

To attract more Indians visitors, New Zealand is going to start brand campaign here along with other initiatives.

“We connect with India not with business stand point but with cultural stand point also,” he said.

On being asked as whether New Zealand would use Bollywood to connect with the potential Indian travellers, Dixon said: “We would not rule that out. At the moment, we are using cricket instead of that.”

There are no direct flight to New Zealand from India at present, however, Dixon expects it to be soon.

Tourism New Zealand on Thursday launched its global brand marketing campaign ”100% Welcome – 100% Pure New Zealand” in India.

The campaign showcases New Zealand”s holiday destinations, landscapes and variety of things to do.

Besides Tourism New Zealand and Immigration New Zealand together launched an extension of the Tourism Industry Partnership to facilitate faster processing of visitor visa applications for Indian Leisure travellers. This would enable streamlined visa service with a faster processing time of seven working days.