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Immigration act review good for tourism

Media Release
Immigration act review good for tourism

6 December 2006

New Zealand’s $8.1 billion international tourism industry will benefit from proposed immigration law changes, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

The proposals not only appear to offer greater flexibility for tourism business operators to overcome skill shortages, they may also improve the arrival experience for international visitors, TIA Chief Executive Fiona Luhrs says.

In its submission to the Immigration Act Review, TIA called for changes that would assist the tourism and hospitality industry.

“We emphasised that while it was essential for New Zealand to manage security risks and protect its borders, it was also important to have a system where international visitors felt welcome. We also wanted any changes to immigration laws to acknowledge labour market needs, with a system that would deliver greater flexibility to meet changing demands for skills and labour,” Ms Luhrs says.

Supportive immigration legislation that would promote the growth of the tourism and hospitality sector was a key plank of the Tourism & Hospitality Workforce Strategy (released by an industry Leadership Group comprising key industry associations and industry training organisations in July) which identified ways to ensure the industry had the people and skills it needs to meet growing visitor demands.

TIA is pleased its recommendation for a simplified visa system has been listened to.

“We will continue to seek assurances that any collection of biometric information will not detract from the visitor arrival experience. International travellers expect stringent border controls but a warm and
friendly welcome to New Zealand creates a good impression before the visitor has even left the airport arrival hall,” Ms Luhrs says.

“Tourism is a vital sector for the Government’s economic transformation agenda and we welcome immigration legislation that will help the industry grow and prosper,” she says.

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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