One of the country’s largest and fastest growing tourism businesses, The New Zealand Fine Touring Group, has purchased Discover New Zealand, and Thrifty Tours New Zealand, to capitalise on an ever-increasing boom in tourists.

New Zealand Fine Touring Group specialises in the bespoke touring sector, currently operating seven different retail and wholesale brands. The company has grown significantly in recent years and is on track to achieve another record for the 2016/17 trading year in excess of $23 million. The acquisition of Discover New Zealand and Thrifty Tours will see turnover climb above $30 million this financial year which is two years ahead of initial forecasts.

Until now, The New Zealand Fine Touring Group has primarily been managed out of its Wanaka headquarters. The addition of Auckland based Discover New Zealand and Thrifty Tours New Zealand, will give the group extensive reach and influence across both the North and South Islands.

The group plans to use the purchase to grow considerably over the coming seasons, and to provide increasingly discerning in-bound travellers with a superior, more sophisticated, bespoke service. This will include developing the group’s already advanced online and systems expertise, and custom-built technology.

Chris Sutton, New Zealand Fine Touring Group co-owner and Marketing Director, explained:

"The Discover NZ and Thrifty Tours NZ brands are a great fit for us. While we have competed with them for many years, we have always admired what they’ve done and indeed the team they have built. The businesses are built on very similar values to ours, and bringing them together made real commercial sense for us. We will have an amazing team of over 35 passionate Kiwis now, and nine different brands in all of the key offshore markets. That puts us in a strong strategic position to not only sustainably grow our share of the inbound market, but to also explore new and exciting ideas we have on how we might create even better customer experiences - it’s an exciting time, for sure."

Dave Kettle, founder of The New Zealand Fine Touring Group, added:

"We've come a long way from plugging away at the kitchen table all those years ago, but our journey is far from over, in fact we are just beginning. If we continue to focus on keeping the customer at the centre of everything we do, building a talented team of people around the business and on increased productivity and efficiency then we will continue to grow. With that growth comes scale and who knows where that could lead us – watch this space."

Dave Simmons, current Chairman of Discover New Zealand, feels that the purchase is a positive move, both for the business and for its customers. He said:

"Discover New Zealand has made tremendous progress over the past 3 years, and we are now delighted to pass the stewardship of the brand to New Zealand Fine Touring. The Board has massive respect for the New Zealand Fine Touring business and believes that the Discover New Zealand brand and team will go from strength to strength under the new ownership."

The New Zealand Fine Touring Group was founded by Dave and Kerry Kettle in 2004. Like many New Zealand entrepreneurial success stories, they originally worked from a spare bedroom in their house, fuelled by a good idea, a determination to be different and a huge amount of commitment. Since the business was established, The New Zealand Fine Touring Group has prided itself on its customer-focused philosophy, combined with the understanding that having the right people on board is key to the company’s success.