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“India continues to be an extremely important market for New Zealand and we hope to further strengthen ties with India under the new government,” stated, John Key, prime minister of New Zealand and minister of tourism, Government of New Zealand in an exclusive with Express TravelWorld at the ongoing Trenz 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest international buyer seller tourism meet. The pressing issue between the two countries has been on the ongoing discussion of the India-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and New Zealand is hoping to gain headway in this area under the Narendra Modi led BJP Government. Key added that, “The FTA talk has been rather on a slow track, with couple of distractions that cropped up from the former government. We are very positive about the new change in government in India and the soon to be elected PM of India seems focused on business and I am sure trade between the two countries will strengthen over time.”
The PM is also keen to encourage two way traffic between the countries especially though tourism. The budget for tourism was increased considerably in 2013 and the focus on tourism especially high value tourism will continue to remain in focus. The PM has been monitoring the tourism sector rather closely both in terms of product development and, marketing and promotions. Films and cricket have a special significance toward tourism promotion. The PM is positive about the Cricket and film ties between the two countries and he plans to further encourage tourism between India and New Zealand through film and sports tourism especially cricket. “Films and cricket ties as crucial to strengthen tourism”, added Key.
The forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is being heavily promoted in the region and major promotions are underway to increase the sports tourism connection between the regions. The India-New Zealand Film Co-production Agreement has been a worthy initiative. Further, India is also a crucial source market for student education and there exists a bilateral cooperation in higher education, research, skills development, and indigenous education between the two countries. The student population and the population of the Indian diaspora have been on a rise over the years. The PM also announced investments in setting up convention centres in Auckland and Queenstown to encourage MICE tourism. The question of improving air connectivity between the two countries was also touched upon in the discussion.
In October 2011 Prime