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Tourism sector is looking beyond the numbers

Tourism sector is looking beyond the numbers

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is impressed by the ongoing growth of New Zealand’s tourism sector. The latest Statistics New Zealand survey of visitor arrivals shows a record monthly total of 265,700 short-term overseas visitor arrivals in December 2002—an 11 percent increase in comparison to December 2001.

In addition, the survey shows an overall increase of 7.1 percent for the year ended December 2002.

But while he is delighted by the sector’s achievements, Mark Burton emphasised that true industry success is about more than just visitor numbers. The future of tourism lies in continuing to develop and implement strategies that will ensure sustainability.

“Visitor numbers are certainly a significant indicator of growth, but New Zealand’s long term interests are best served if our guests are encouraged to travel at different times of the year, stay longer, increase their spend, and visit not only the traditional spots, but venture out into less familiar regions.

“The industry, the Government, and the wider community must work together to find ways to guarantee the prosperity and growth of the industry in the long term, while still protecting, preserving, and enhancing the environments and values of New Zealand.

“This goal lies at the heart of this Government’s policy and the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, a document that was produced in 2001 by a group of key industry stakeholders. The main objective was to create a sustainable, yield-driven strategy, one that strikes a balance between growing tourism demands and financial returns, enhancing both our visitors’ experience and New Zealanders’ quality of life.”

Mark Burton congratulated both the tourism sector and Tourism New Zealand, both for their achievements over the past three years and their focus on sustainability for the future.

“New Zealand is becoming known as a sophisticated, year-round travel destination for visitors from around the world. Along with our spectacular landscape and world-renowned adventure tourism, New Zealand also offers opportunities for unique cultural and arts experiences—and our guests are beginning to take full advantage of both.

“Tourism, both international and domestic, represents a great economic opportunity for New Zealand. Currently, it generates 10% of our GDP, is directly and indirectly responsible for one in ten jobs, supports over 15,000 businesses, and is one of our largest earners of foreign exchange.

“But for New Zealand to realise the full potential of our tourism market, we must find the right balance between industry growth and protecting our unique environments and the communities and cultures of New Zealand who host and supply the services to tourists.

“I applaud the entire sector for its ongoing efforts to ensure this goal is realised.”

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