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Cruise Ship Visitors Buoy Arrival Numbers

February 28, 2008

Cruise Ship Visitors Buoy International Arrival Numbers

A huge boost in cruise ship visitors has buoyed arrival numbers in the beginning of the New Year.

Figures out today from Statistics New Zealand showed that in January 2008 there were over 253,500 visitors to New Zealand, an increase of 2.7% on the same time in 2007.

A large part of the increase came from the US which recorded an almost 15% increase on the same time the year before and reflected the large number of American visitors cruising New Zealand waters.

“New Zealanders living in any port city would be hard pushed to miss the large influx of cruise ship visitors on our shores,” said Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton. “Our challenge is to keep them as satisfied with their visit as they’ve been in the past. “

But Mr Hickton warned a tougher global economic situation was starting to bite into the New Zealand tourism industry.

“More economic constraints mean that some sectors of our market are likely to travel less while competition from other destinations and the lure of flights offered by low cost airlines are tempting visitors to other destinations.”

This is already being reflected in some markets such as Japan which was down 17.3% to 10,120 compared to January last year and the UK which dropped 7.2% to 42,400 visitors from the same time last year.

“There has also been a consolidation of flights to New Zealand which means in some markets potential visitors don’t have as much choice to get here as they once had,” Mr Hickton said.

New Zealand’s largest visitor market, Australia showed good growth with almost 81,000 visitors from across the Tasman in January – an increase of 8.3%.

But Mr Hickton says New Zealand was continuing to capture the interest of a number of emerging markets such as Canada and China.

Highlights of International Visitor arrivals January 2008

• Australia 80,881 up 8.3%
• UK 42,398 down 7.2%
• USA 25,984 up 14.9%
• Canada 7,859 up 21%
• China 10,817 up 13%
• Korea 10,846 down 22.7%
• Japan 10,121 down 17.3%


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