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Upward trend in guest nights great news for touris

Upward trend in guest nights great news for tourism

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is today welcoming the results of Statistics New Zealand’s latest accommodation survey.

The survey shows that the number of actual guest nights increased 3 percent in December 2002, when compared with December 2001. Total guest nights for the year ended December 2002 were up 7 percent on the year ended December 2001, and up 13 percent on the year ended December 2000.

But while he is pleased that the underlying trend in guest nights has been on the rise since May 1998, Mark Burton stressed that a sustainable tourism sector depends on more than just numbers.

“This ongoing increase in the numbers of guest nights certainly indicates a strong pattern of growth, both in the domestic and international tourism markets. However, New Zealand’s long-term interests are best served by striking a balance between building the obvious economic benefits of tourism and implementing effective policies to ensure sustainability.

“Tourism is a key driver of economic development in New Zealand. In 2001, our international guests injected nearly $6 billion into the New Zealand economy—a 95 percent increase since 1997—and New Zealanders enjoying domestic trips spent nearly $7 billion. Taken together, these tourism figures account for 10 percent of New Zealand’s GDP—a figure of no small significance.

“New Zealand’s tourism market is certainly booming. But neither the industry nor the Government can afford to become complacent. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that we build on our progress thus far and make tourism a genuinely sustainable industry.

“It is essential for both the industry and the Government to focus on protecting, preserving and enhancing those things that travellers want to see and share—our core environmental values and assets.

“Our challenge is to encourage all those who choose to travel throughout New Zealand—whether they are domestic visitors or international guests—to visit at different times of the year, to try a greater number of products, to stay longer, to explore a wider range of locations, and, of course, to spend more.

“To achieve this goal, the entire sector must strive to find innovative solutions to issues of sustainablility. Tourism must demonstrate the flare, originality, determination and unwavering commitment to quality that drives the creative film projects and yachting campaigns of which we are all so proud. “This Government is committed to playing its part in meeting this challenge.” Full results of the survey are available on http://www.stats.govt.nz.

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