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Record Summer And A Record Tourism Year

19 April 2002

International arrival figures for March confirm that New Zealand enjoyed its busiest summer tourism season ever, Tourism Minister Mark Burton said.

"The tourism 'bounce-back' following the events of September 11th was far quicker in New Zealand than in most countries," Mark Burton said, "and the entire tourism sector is to be congratulated for the way it responded to the severe challenges that were posed.

"International visitor arrivals in March were up by an impressive 14.5 percent compared with March last year – and that meant that we achieved a new 12-month record of 1.955 million visitors.

"Particular highlights in March included the improvement in our biggest market Australia, with visitors from across the Tasman 8.4 percent ahead of last March.

"Japan continued to improve, with a 12 percent increase, the USA was up by 10 percent, and the United Kingdom by a remarkable 45 percent.

"The strong performance in the past three months is likely be reflected in additional earnings of around $150 million from international visitors, to over $2 billion in earnings for the quarter. This contribution reinforces the tremendous value of tourism as a generator of new wealth for New Zealand.

"In building on this record summer, there are three particular issues now facing the tourism sector," Mark Burton said.

"We want to encourage visitors to come at off-peak times, to visit different regions of New Zealand not just the 'hot-spots', and to spend more while they are here.

"If these challenges can be met, we will be able to ensure an exciting, sustainable future for New Zealand as a quality, highly desirable destination," Mark Burton said.

Ends

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