23 Nov 2011

Tourism Holdings eyes new and near-new campervan market

8:10 am on 23 November 2011

Tourism Holdings hopes to increase its earnings by luring more buyers and achieving better prices for the motorhomes it retires from its rental fleets.

The listed company, which operates the Maui and Britz campervan rentals as well as the Waitomo Caves tourist attraction, on Tuesday reiterated it is on track to report a $5.9 million profit this year.

It also expects to resume paying dividends in April.

Tourism Holdings' chief executive Grant Webster says its recently acquired US rentals business, Road Bear, continues to perform well and the Rugby World Cup boosted pre-tax earnings in its rentals division by $4.5 million.

Mr Webster says Tourism Holdings is looking to take market share away from its competitors in the new and near-new campervan market.

He says the company has about 1400 vehicles in its New Zealand fleet and he does not believe the industry can afford to grow the rental market any further.

However, he says there are a lot of old motor homes in private ownership that need replacing and Tourism Holdings wants to gain market share in that space.

Europe and UK still high value tourist markets

Mr Webster says the Rugby World Cup tournament also provided unprecedented exposure to high value tourism markets and the French market was "outstanding".

He says as well as French tourists, the Rugby World Cup attracted tour operators from France who now want to push New Zealand as a destination.

Mr Webster acknowledges the high dollar is having an impact on tourism from Europe and the UK but says the tourist industry should keep encouraging them to come.

He says a lot of effort is going into the Asian market because that is where the growth is coming from but he says the European and UK markets are high value - while the Asian market is not.