Reema Lokesh – Auckland
“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 The Indian Express Group at the recently concluded Trenz 2014 tourism event in Auckland. 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 Modi 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 as the leadership seems focused on business.”
Speaking about the hospitality sector, Key mentioned that China is investing in a big way in the hospitality sector in New Zealand and investments are underway to set up luxury hospitality facilities in the country. He is keen to encourage investment from India in the hospitality space as well and said he promises to offer a investment friendly set up for hospitality tie-ups. The PM is also keen to encourage two way traffic between the countries especially though tourism. 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 was very 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.