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Tourism challenges during slower economic times

Media Release
TRENZ 2008 driving business for New Zealand

27 May 2008
The Tourism Industry Association represents about 2000 businesses and organisations within the tourism industry.

Members include airlines, airport companies, and regional tourism organisations, rental car, coach and taxi companies, inbound tour operators, accommodation providers, tourism attractions, researchers, training organisations and tourism services providers.

Tourism is New Zealand’s largest export earner – accounting for 19.2% of this country’s export earnings.

The Tourism Industry Association organises the New Zealand Tourism Industry Conference, TRENZ, PURE LUXURY New Zealand and the Tourism Industry Awards as agent of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust.

Go to www.tianz.org.nz Keeping tourism operators in business during slower economic times is crucial if New Zealand is to continue to reap the benefits of tourism, Tourism Industry Association chairman Norm Thompson says.

Speaking today at TRENZ 2008, New Zealand’s biggest annual tourism business event, Mr Thompson said tourism businesses, along with all other New Zealand export sectors, are facing slowing visitor growth.

International visitor arrivals grew only 1% in the last 12 months, due to economic slowdowns in some key markets, intense competition from other international visitor destinations and rising international airfares due to fuel price hikes, Mr Thompson said.

On the positive side, there had been a welcome jump in the number of visitors from Australia and China. But arrivals from key markets like Japan and Korea had dropped, while the UK, Europe and USA had levelled out.

“As a country, we need to ensure that we can not only reap the benefits when visitor demand is high but continue to keep our tourism operators in business during times of slower economic growth. Tourism is New Zealand’s single biggest export industry, bringing in $8.3 billion or 19.2 percent of New Zealand’s total export earnings – more than other key export groups like dairy ($5.9 billion) – and we want to keep it that way.

“Tourism operators are investing significantly in improving the visitor experience, whether through new planes, new hotels, more environmentally friendly coaches and other facility upgrades.

“The goal of TRENZ is to help them maximise the returns from such investment, to drive business for our Exhibitors and the wider tourism industry,” Mr Thompson said.

About 320 of New Zealand’s top tourism operators are participating in TRENZ, taking place at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre, 26-29 May. Over three days of intensive business meetings, they will showcase their tourism products to a similar number of travel and tourism Buyers from
28 countries and international media.

“Tourism in New Zealand is continually developing and growing, with new operations and new products being added all the time. For TRENZ 2008 we have 14 Exhibitors attending TRENZ for the first time and no fewer than 60 other Exhibitors bringing brand new products to the international market,” Mr Thompson said.

The new Exhibitors include attractions that highlight New Zealand’s cultural heritage, Maori cultural experiences, new accommodation providers, tours and outdoor activities (a list of new Exhibitors at TRENZ 2008 is attached).

“Fresh high quality attractions and experiences will help ensure New Zealand remains one of the most sought after destinations, so when travellers are making their decisions, we remain at the top of the list,” Mr Thompson said.

TRENZ 2008 is managed by TIA as agent of the Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust and in partnership with Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and other industry supporters. For more information, visit www.trenz.co.nz .

Key statistics about tourism:

 Tourism is the world's fastest growing industry

 New Zealand tourism arrivals have increased by 61% since 1999 to 2.4 million

 Forecast annual growth is 4% on average for at least the next five years

 Tourism is New Zealand's single largest export sector. International visitors contributed $8.3 billion dollars to the economy in the year ended March 2006. That is 19.2% of exports

 Domestic tourism contributes $10.3 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 8.9% ($12.8 billion) of gross domestic product and generates $531 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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