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Research Highlights The Importance Of Tourism

The Minister of Tourism Mark Burton said today that the immense contribution of tourism to New Zealand's economic well being has now been confirmed.

Key findings of the Tourism Satellite Account 1997 have been released today by Statistics New Zealand. 1997 is the most recent year for which complete data is available to construct a Satellite Account.

"The Government funded this research through the Tourism Research Council New Zealand, after recognising the significant lack of reliable and authoritative information currently available," Mark Burton said.

"We are now able to accurately determine the size and contribution of the tourism sector to the New Zealand economy. The figures released today reflect a large and vibrant industry that is generating real benefits for New Zealanders.

"The figures we now have are quite staggering: · 86,000 fulltime equivalent people are directly employed servicing tourists. · 63,000 people are indirectly employed supporting tourism. · Total tourist expenditure in 1997 was $11.5 billion. · Tourism contributed directly and indirectly 9.3 percent of New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product in 1997.

"The full set of figures in the TSA97 will inform decision-making by a wide range of users, whether in the tourism industry, related sectors, central or local government.

"They will also provide a solid statistical base for the New Zealand Tourism Strategy, which will guide tourism development over the next decade."

Mark Burton said the Draft Tourism Strategy is to be released next month.

The chair of the Tourism Research Council New Zealand (TRCNZ) Sean Murray said this is the most definitive measurement yet of tourism's contribution to the national economy and the results are both outstanding and exciting.

"Tourism expenditure of $11.5 billion amounts to $32 million spent each and every day by tourists in New Zealand, across the length and breadth of our country. The reach of these benefits are tremendous as best illustrated by the large number of jobs generated by tourism ? 149,000, or one job in ten." Sean Murray said the TSA programme is part of the wider efforts of TRCNZ to deliver a complete and consistent set of data on the tourism sector.

"From an industry perspective, the delivery of timely and authoritative information on tourism is vital to informing the decision-making processes that will enable the tourism industry to develop as a sustainable driver of the New Zealand economy," Sean Murray said.

Tourism Minister Mark Burton emphasised that as positive as this new data is, it is taken from 1997.

"While the TSA97 is based on the most recently available data, we also know that the sector has grown significantly since 1997. For instance, in the year to March 1997, international visitor arrivals were 1.55 million compared to 1.85 million in the year to March 2001 ? an overall increase of 19%.

"As such, the current contribution from tourism will be significantly higher that that set out in TSA97."

Mark Burton said provisional TSAs for 1998, 1999 and 2000 will be released later this year. TRCNZ and Statistics New Zealand will release the full TSA 1997 report on the 17th May.

Ends


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