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Tourism industry supports Easter opening

Media Release

Tourism industry supports Easter opening

14 September 2006

If New Zealand is to cement its reputation as a world class visitor destination, it is essential that shops in all areas have the ability to trade over Easter, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.
TIA Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs today appeared before the Commerce Select Committee to present the association’s submission to the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Amendment Bill and the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Easter Trading) Amendment Bill.

“International and domestic travellers expect shops to be open during significant holiday periods and it does not reflect well on the visitor experience if shops are closed. It creates a perception that New Zealand is a ‘quaint’ and ‘old-fashioned’ tourism destination that does not live up to the world class tourism experience promoted internationally by Tourism New Zealand,” Ms Luhrs said.

TIA is calling for the removal of restrictions on shop trading hours in all areas, not just “significant” visitor areas, and laws that allow individual retailers, not local authorities, to decide whether they open their businesses during the Easter period.

“While we believe there should be no compulsion on businesses to open, it is our view that many shops will open as a result of seeing their competitors benefit from trading,” Ms Luhrs said. “We want to be able to meet customer demand, as well as benefit local economies.”

Tourism activity was no longer limited to the traditional regions. The availability of services for visitors, including the ability for shops to open over the Easter period, was critical to many regions’ economic development strategies, she said.

Taranaki, Southland and the West Coast were among rapidly emerging tourism regions which would benefit from a relaxation in Easter trading
regulations as they increased their market profile, both domestically and internationally.

“The opening of shops over the whole Easter period will encourage more travellers to open their wallets and spend more. This is hugely beneficial to local economies during holiday periods when more visitors are in the towns and regions of New Zealand,” Ms Luhrs said.

TIA consulted extensively with its Members and Regional Tourism Organisations in Northland, Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson and Canterbury before writing its submission.
To read the submission in full, go to http://www.tianz.org.nz/Policy/Recent-Policy-Issues.asp

Key statistics about tourism:

- Tourism is the world's fastest growing industry
- New Zealand tourism arrivals have doubled in size since 1994 to 2.38 million
- Forecast annual growth is 4% on average for at least the next five years
- Tourism is New Zealand's single largest export sector and contributed $8.1 billion dollars to the economy in the year ended March 2004. That is 18.7% of exports

- Domestic tourism contributes $9.4 billion to the economy each year
- Tourism directly and indirectly employs 10 percent of the work force. That is one in 10 jobs in New Zealand.
- Tourism represents 9% of gross domestic product and generates nearly $526 million in GST returns from international visitors each year. Tourism is the only export sector whose international clients pay GST.

ENDS

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