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North Americans Flock To New Zealand

Official figures for January showing a large increase in the number of North American visitors to New Zealand, reflect what tourism operators have already been reporting, Tourism Minister Mark Burton said.

204,717 people visited New Zealand in January, a 3.5 percent increase on January 2001. Visitors from the USA totalled 25,200, up 38.5 percent on last January, while visitors from Canada totalled 6,279 for the month, up by 30.3 percent.

"Understandably, there was a fall in visitors from North America following September 11th," Mark Burton said. "But New Zealand's reputation as a safe, quality destination, and some astute marketing led by Tourism New Zealand, has seen this important market rebound quickly.

"There is anecdotal evidence that many North American tourists who cancelled their trips at the end of last year, are now visiting our country. And the large number of cruise ships that called at New Zealand ports in January also boosted the figures.

"A strong marketing effort in Japan is also paying off. In November 2001, Japanese visitor numbers were down by almost 50 percent. In January 2002, the numbers were just 9.6 percent down on the previous January."

Mark Burton said there was a mixed performance from other markets.

"UK visitors increased by more than 10 percent compared to last January. India, China and Korea continue to grow strongly - up 53 percent, 6 percent and 26 percent respectively. Our biggest market, Australia, was down slightly (3.4 percent) and there were larger declines in Germany (19 percent), Singapore (26 percent) and Taiwan (17 percent).

"The overall increase of 3.5 percent in visitor arrivals for January has got the year off to a very positive start," Mark Burton said.


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