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Japan Visitor Market Back On Track

A strong recovery in the number of visitors to New Zealand from Japan and other Asian markets is a key feature of the latest international visitor arrival figures (for February 2002), Tourism Minister Mark Burton said.

"Swift government and private sector intervention in the wake of September 11th has seen a impressive recovery in the badly affected Japanese visitor market," Mark Burton said.

"Japanese visitor numbers have been improving steadily since November, and in February numbers were, remarkably, identical to February 2001, with 17,374 Japanese visiting New Zealand.

"That's a tremendous reward for a carefully targeted marketing campaign.

"A $2 million funding injection from the government allowed Tourism New Zealand to negotiate the largest partnership campaign it has ever run in Japan. Japanese industry partners and Air New Zealand added another $5 million to the joint campaign, along with up to $5.5 million in discounted fares.

"Both the Prime Minister and myself took the unusual step of publishing open letters in the Japanese press, giving an assurance that New Zealand is a safe and friendly destination to travel to. I took the additional step of travelling to Japan to meet with a number of senior Government and tourism industry leaders.

"The recovery of the Japan visitor market is a good example of what can be achieved by a smart, active government, working in partnership with the private sector," Mark Burton said.

Another feature of the latest visitor arrival figures is the impact of the Chinese New Year falling in February – visitors from Hong Kong were up 109 percent on the previous February, China 101 percent, and Taiwan 21 percent.

Overall, visitor arrivals in February 2002 were 6.2 percent greater than in February 2001, at 212,233.

"January and February have both been record months– it's a great start to the year," Mark Burton said.


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