Auckland tourism leaders hope a new deal with travel agency Flight Centre will attract 20,000 more Australian visitors to the region.

During the past year there were 707,000 arrivals to Auckland from Australia, of which roughly half were holiday visitors and the rest coming to visit friends or relatives and business.

About $17 million is expected to be pumped into the Auckland economy this year as the result of a partnership agreement signed between ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) and Flight Centre, the largest travel agency in Australia and New Zealand.

The agreement signed yesterday builds on a year-long trial, with the agency actively promoting Auckland holiday packages, rather than the city just as an entry point into the country, said agency chief executive Brett O'Riley.


"Our aim is to significantly increase the number of Australian visitors to Auckland, as it's our largest tourism market," he said.

The programme involves promoting Auckland to Australians in a new way that highlights the diversity of what's on offer and presents the city as a destination in its own right.

Flight Centre executive global marketing manager Colin Bowman said working with ATEED to market Auckland was a mutually beneficial partnership.

"Through the campaign we've really opened the eyes of Australian visitors to the huge variety of experiences on offer in Auckland - many of which Aussie travellers didn't know about," he said.

ATEED is an Auckland City Council organisation and aims to double the contribution from the visitor economy over the next 10 years, growing it from $3.33 billion in 2010 to $6 billion in 2021.

Flight Centre Australia has over 700 stores and more than 3000 travel agents.