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Tourism confident of robust future investment

28 May 2009

Media Release

Tourism confident of robust future investment

The tourism industry is confident of robust future investment by the Government but needs this investment sooner rather than later for the sake of New Zealand, says Tourism Industry Association (TIA) Chief Executive Tim Cossar.

“Tourism investment is not optional. Ramping up New Zealand’s share of voice in international markets is the top priority for our industry and has always been, as outlined in the Tourism Industry Election Manifesto (available at available at presented to Parliament last year,” Mr Cossar says.

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key has said there won’t be “a big boost" for tourism in the Budget today but that the Government is committed to “put more into the pot".

“The tourism industry is delighted that John Key has made the personal commitment to take up the tourism portfolio and shares our passion for tourism’s role in helping to bring New Zealand out of recession.

“While it’s critical for the Government to manage its books, focusing on improving New Zealand’s profile in international markets and getting the best return we can for New Zealand’s major export industries will be vital to returning NZ Inc. to growth,” Mr Cossar says.

“Marketing is more important than ever in a recession. Other countries like Canada, Singapore, Greece and Spain, which also rely heavily on tourism, are significantly boosting their marketing investment and New Zealand can’t afford to be left behind.”

The Government’s recent $2.5 million investment in the “What’s On” campaign in Australia is already bringing positive returns with Australians arriving in growing numbers in key ski areas like Queenstown and all indicators pointing to a strong ski season, Mr Cossar says.

“The current uncertainty surrounding commitment to new investment in other key markets such as China, South America and traditional and emerging European markets is a concern, not just for tourism but for all of New Zealand’s top export industries.

“There are plenty of opportunities, including medium and long term prospects, for working in partnership with both individual operators and the tourism industry via a more collaborative approach.”

“Freeing up more funding to successfully showcase New Zealand internationally in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup 2011 is also a priority,” Mr Cossar says.

Recent commitments such as the $50 million funding for the National Cycleway and the $250,000 feasibility study for a national convention centre in Auckland are welcomed but won’t succeed without the marketing investment required to back them up, Mr Cossar says.

“Tourism has proven that it is a major driver of foreign exchange and an industry that has the potential to help move New Zealand out of recession.

“The business case for tourism investment has also been proven, now New Zealand’s Government needs to be bullish and have the confidence to invest more and work with the tourism industry to bring New Zealand back to growth.”

Key Facts

• Tourism contributes close to 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) for New Zealand

• Tourism directly and indirectly employs nearly one in ten New Zealanders (this includes 108,100 FTE directly and 73,100 FTE indirectly).

• Tourism in New Zealand is a $50 million per day industry. Tourism delivers $24 million in foreign exchange to the New Zealand economy each day of the year. Domestic tourism contributes another $26 million in economic activity every day.

• Total tourism expenditure reached $20.1 billion for the year ended March 2007. International visitor expenditure accounted for $8.8 billion or 18.3% of New Zealand’s foreign exchange earnings.

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