Key enlists Bollywood star Sidharth Malhotra to talk up NZ
New Zealand tourism promoters are banking on Bollywood star power to further drive up impressive tourist numbers.
Speaking during this week's trade mission to India, Prime Minister John Key said actor Sidharth Malhotra would return to New Zealand next month in his role as tourism ambassador in a bid to lure more Indian visitors to the country.
During the Bollywood actor and former model's eight-day trip to the country last year, 2.8 million people used social media to interact with and follow him as he sky dived, went hot air ballooning and visited a hot spa, Tourism New Zealand said.
The tourism agency said figures released last week showed there had been a 24 percent increase in holiday arrivals to New Zealand in the year to September, including 25,168 Indians.
The bumper tourist season follows the recent release of Statistics New Zealand's annual report, which found foreign tourists spent $14.5 billion in the country in 2013.
This accounted for 20.7 percent of New Zealand's total goods and services exports.
Malholtra will visit to Auckland, Rotorua, Waikato and Canterbury during his 10-day trip in November.