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Tourism conference focuses on growth

Tourism conference focuses on growth in slowing economy

10 July 2008

A slowing economy and stagnant visitor growth are focusing tourism operators on lifting their competitiveness, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

”In order to compete with other tourism businesses at a local level and to compete with other international visitor destinations, tourism operators must find new ways to attract visitors, encourage them to stay longer and spend more,” TIA Acting Chief Executive Oscar Nathan says.

Tourism currently accounts for 18.3% ($8.8 billion) of New Zealand’s total export earnings – ahead of dairy ($7.3 billion). But international visitor expenditure grew only 0.2% in the year to March 2007.

The Tourism Industry Conference 2008 will take a hard look at the world economy and its impacts on New Zealand’s tourism industry. The conference takes place at the Christchurch Convention Centre, 4-5 August.

Respected business commentator Rod Oram and Westpac Chief Economist Brendan O’Donovan will discuss their views of where the economy is heading and how tourism operators can achieve a sustainable future.

Mr O’Donovan notes that tourism is holding up relatively well, with visitor growth of 1.3% in the last 12 months. Visitor numbers from traditional northern hemisphere markets continue to languish, but are being offset by growth from Australia and emerging markets. Length of stay is extending but the high currency has hit average spend, he says. His conference presentation will discuss how the myriad of influences may evolve over coming years.

Other conference speakers looking at trends in the tourism sector will include Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton (international tourism) and AA Tourism General Manager Peter Blackwell (domestic tourism).

Australian tourism consultant Tony Charters will offer insights into the issues, challenges and opportunities facing tourism in the South Pacific region.

ENDS

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