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Asian visitors buoy the loss of Lions fans

Friday 18th August 2006

American and Asian visitors buoy the loss of Lions fans this winter.

Solid growth from the New Zealand tourism industry’s Asian and US markets have helped buoy visitor arrival numbers despite the impact of the Lions Tour of 2005.

Figures released by Statistics New Zealand today for the month of July show a small 0.9% decrease or 1, 450 less visitors, than the same time last year. Most of the decrease can be attributed to almost 4,000 less visitors from the United Kingdom, down by 22.5 %.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said, “The Lions fans went home raving about New Zealand and that, along with consistent marketing in the UK, may have contributed to tourism operators reporting increased bookings for the months ahead.”

Despite rising airfares, mostly due to fuel surcharges, there was only a small decline of visitors out of the Australian market compared to July last year. Tourism New Zealand has just invested $6 million into a new ‘What’s On?’ campaign in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne which is expected to have a positive impact over coming months.

The number of visitors out of the United States is back to its normal level after dipping last year due to the reluctance of travel operators to book customers to New Zealand during the Lions Series.

The relatively new markets of China and India continue to grow, up 13.6% and 28.6% respectively, and there has been a 5% increase on South East Asian markets.

The drop off in the Japan market slowed in July to a 5% decrease and Mr Hickton said Tourism New Zealand hoped initiatives stemming from the June Japan Market Forum will continue to arrest the decline.

Total International Visitor Arrivals for July 2006 166,970 down 0.9% Australia 66,456 down 0.8% UK 13,584 down 22.5% USA 16,560 up 13.5% Japan 10,176 down 5.1% China 7,440 up 13.6%

ENDS

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