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Forecasts show tourism continues to grow

Forecasts show tourism continues to grow

The latest forecasts from the Tourism Research Council of New Zealand show tourism will continue to make a growing contribution to the economy for the next six years.

The figures show that spending will grow at a faster rate than visitor numbers through to 2011.

While the forecasts are not as buoyant as in previous years, total tourist spending will grow on average 4.9% a year to reach $18.9 billion in 2011 - $5.4 billion up on the $13.5 billion spent in 2004.

The holiday travel market continues to show strong growth and overall, tourism growth is forecast in every region of the country.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Fiona Luhrs said the forecasts followed a challenging year for the industry, with cheap airfares, increased trans-Tasman capacity, the strengthening New Zealand dollar and the weakening US dollar.

The forecasts were a useful tool for the industry and helped show where the opportunities lay in future, she said.

The figures bore out TIA’s calls for Tourism New Zealand to receive more Government funding indexed against inflation, she said.

New Zealand was facing increased competition from other destinations and needed to keep promoting itself strongly in its key markets. Our dream run as one of the world’s hottest destinations was under attack, with India, Vietnam, Cambodia, South America, and parts of Africa and Australia becoming fashionable.

“It’s time to build on what we’ve been doing and on to the substantial

gains we’ve already made in building the destination New Zealand brand, not let them dissipate as a result of declining purchasing power.”

The figures were released as the industry gathers in Auckland for its annual conference with the theme “Managing Paradise” and will help 400-plus delegates focus on the importance of providing a high quality experience for visitors.

Key statistics about tourism:

Tourism is the world's fastest growing industry

New Zealand tourism arrivals have doubled in size since 1994

Forecast annual growth is 6% on average for at least the next five years

Tourism is New Zealand's single largest export sector and contributed $7.4 billion dollars to the economy in the year ended March 2004. That is 18.5% of exports

Tourism directly and indirectly employs 10 percent of the work force. That is one in 10 jobs in New Zealand.

Tourism represents 9.6% of gross domestic product and generates nearly $500 million in GST returns from international visitors each year. Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST.

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