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Financial Crisis Impacts Visitor Arrivals

October 20, 2008

Financial Crisis Impacts Visitor Arrivals

The impact of the global financial crisis is beginning to be felt by the tourism industry, with visitor arrivals to New Zealand down 6.6%, just over 11,000 less people than in September 2007.

Increasing economic uncertainty saw a drop in the number of visitors arriving from almost all of New Zealand's major tourist markets, compared with 2007.

"It is clear that New Zealand tourism is facing difficult times as a result of the financial crisis and that things will be even more challenging in 2009," Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said.

"Because tourism is based largely on discretionary income we will definitely see an impact on the tourism industry. Tourism New Zealand is focused on maintaining our efforts in key markets where it is important we retain a high profile."

Despite visitor arrivals from the UK being down 5.3% (598 visitors), the launch of the 'What Do You Say UK?' campaign in September has boosted awareness of New Zealand.

A recent Marketing Magazine survey named the new television commercials in the top-10 ads most-remembered by British consumers.

China has taken longer than expected to recover from the Olympic Games and Sichuan Earthquake, but the forward outlook for summer is improving.

Mr Hickton said Australia will become an even more important market as the full-impact of the financial crisis begins to be felt. "With long-haul travel becoming more expensive, Australians will be looking to holiday closer to home, providing a lot of opportunities for New Zealand."

Highlights of International Visitor Arrivals September 2008:

* Australia 82,317 down 2.6% * UK 10,580 down 5.3% * USA 9,131 down 11.6% * Canada 2,139 up 12.0% * China 5,497 down 33.2% * Korea 4,577 down 30.7% * Japan 6,486 down 22.1%


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