Asia is the flavour of the moment as New Zealand moves from traditional markets and destinations for trade and tourism.
It’s called the east but that’s from a European perspective, Asia is really to our west unless you go the long way round the world.
The nearest major land block to our east is South America and there are also opportunities for business and holidays there too.
Fonterra is already involved in dairy farming in Chile.
PGG Wrightson’s investment in Uruguay wasn’t successful but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities there and in other parts of South America.
One of the obstacles is the shortage of flights and I hope speculation that Air New Zealand is exploring markets in South America is true.
It would add a much-needed additional option for would-be travellers.
Only Lan Chile and Aerolineas Argentina fly direct between Auckland and South America – to and from Santiago and Buenos Aires respectively.
You have to fly to Sydney to go with Qantas. Emirates has recently entered the South American market but you not only have to take the long way via Dubai you have to stay there for at least a night.
The only options with Star Alliance partners are with indirect and much longer routes via the United States or Europe.
The World Cup brought more tourists here from Argentina. Now that the tri-nations competition has been expanded to include the Pumas in what will be the Rugby Championship, there will be more interest from people wanting to come here and go there. That will lead to an increase in interest in Argentina and further afield in South America with the potential for more tourism and trade opportunities.
We’ve been to Argentina five times. It’s an amazing country and in spite of the cultural and language differences we’ve found the people are like us in many ways.
Visiting there would be even better if we could fly with Air New Zealand.