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Tourist Spending on Visa Cards Grows 30%

TOURIST SPENDING ON VISA CARDS IN NEW ZEALAND GROWS 30 PERCENT

Feb 11, 03 – Tourists visiting New Zealand spent US$865 million on their Visa payment cards in New Zealand in 2002 - an increase of almost 30 percent over 2001, Visa International announced today. Visitors from the United Kingdom Australia and the United States made up approximately 60 percent of the total spending.

Visa card spend represented about 30 percent of all tourism receipts earned in New Zealand.

Visa’s New Zealand country manager, Belinda Leonard said that despite politically and economically trying times in 2002, international tourism showed again how resilient and stable this sector can be.
The increased Visa card spending compared favorably with Ministry of Tourism statistics, which currently forecast an annual six percent increase in tourist visitor numbers.
“Tourist spend on Visa cards in New Zealand is growing much faster than visitor arrivals,” said Ms Leonard. “Visa’s latest figures support other evidence that New Zealand is an increasingly attractive destination for international travelers.”

In terms of outbound travel, New Zealand cardholders remain avid travelers, with most spending in the Asia Pacific region (includes Australia). In 2002, Kiwi tourists spent US$284 million on their Visa cards while traveling in that region, a 16 percent increase over 2001. The top country destinations, in terms of Visa card spending, were Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Within Asia Pacific, the number of Visa cards has grown by 20 percent to more than 365 million by end of September 2002. In some emerging markets such as China, India, Thailand and Malaysia, the number of Visa cards grew between 50 and 100 percent, allowing more consumers to enjoy the benefits of using Visa during their overseas travel. In June, Visa launched the first International Travel Card in China specially catering to the travel needs of the 16 million Chinese outbound travelers every year.

Wide acceptance is a key consideration for international travelers when using payment cards. Visa’s latest quarterly Global Brand Monitor consumer research indicates that around 50 percent of consumers consistently rate Visa as the best card for international travel and merchant acceptance worldwide(1). By the end of 2002, travelers can conveniently use their Visa cards at 15 million merchant locations in Asia Pacific.

In 2003, Visa will continue with its active inbound tourism promotion in Asia Pacific and establish global alliances with new partners such as The Walt Disney Company, Rugby World Cup 2003 in Australia and Accor hotel and travel group. From February 2003 to end of the year, Visa is launching a new regional travel program “Visa Great Breaks Southeast Asia 2003”, in partnership with the national tourism offices and travel industries of ASEAN countries.
1/2
“Visa Great Breaks” promotes one ASEAN destination per month by offering cardholders exclusive travel packages and other shopping and dining privileges.

Visa International
Visa is the world’s leading payment brand more than one billion cards in circulation worldwide. Visa-branded cards are used to purchase over US$2.4 trillion worth of goods and services every year and are accepted at more than 30 million merchant locations and over 810,000 ATMs in more than 150 countries. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of universal commerce - the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way.

Visa Asia Pacific
In Asia Pacific, Visa has a greater market share than all other payment card brands combined with 59 percent of all card purchases at the point of sale being made using Visa cards. There are currently more than 365 million Visa cards in the region. During the four quarters ended 30 September 2002, US$606 billion was spent in Asia Pacific using Visa cards, an increase of 35 percent over the previous year. Visa Asia Pacific’s Internet address is www.visa-asia.com.

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