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Record Tourism Year

31 January 2002 Media Statement

Record Tourism Year

Despite the global downturn in travel, New Zealand still welcomed a record number of international visitors for a single calendar year in 2001, Tourism Minister Mark Burton said.

"1,909,391 people visited New Zealand last year, a 6.9 percent increase on the previous year. This is all the more remarkable, coming as it does on top of an 11.2 percent increase the previous year.

"As a direct consequence of the terror attacks on September 11th, the last three months of 2001 did see a decline in some of our key markets, especially Japan," Mark Burton said.

"However, New Zealand appears to be weathering the storm far better than many other countries. We enjoy a reputation as a welcoming, quality destination, and the government and the tourism sector responded quickly and are working together to identify the risks and the opportunities," Mark Burton said.

"The Tourism Action Group has played an important role in monitoring the international situation and keeping tourism operators informed, and Tourism New Zealand has modified and targeted its marketing campaigns.

"This has included using a $2 million cash injection from the government for a special campaign in Japan. The Japanese market, which dropped away markedly in November, began to recover in December.

"Visitors from Australia – easily our biggest market - were up almost 10 percent for the year. And there have also been outstanding performances from emerging markets. Chinese visitors in 2001 were up by 59 percent, and India by 52 percent. The important Korean market continued its recovery in 2001, with a 31 percent increase over the previous year.

"Earnings from tourism are an increasingly important component of New Zealand export sector - international visitors spent well in excess of $5 billion in New Zealand last year. The New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, developed last year as a partnership between the government and industry, has laid the framework for further, sustainable tourism growth over the next decade.

"2001 posed some unique challenges for the tourism sector, but with vigilance and hard work, we have every reason to be positive about our future prospects," Mark Burton said.

ENDS

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