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Guest night boom great news for Auckland tourism

Guest night boom great news for Auckland tourism

Statistics New Zealand's latest accommodation survey shows more great news for the Auckland region's high-achieving tourism sector, Auckland Issues Minister Judith Tizard said today.

The survey shows that occupancy rates in Auckland accommodation jumped 13.6 percent in the year to December 2002, with accommodation providers (excluding caravan parks and camping grounds) achieving an occupancy rate last December of 64 percent. Nationally the number of actual guest nights increased 3 percent between December 2001 and 2002.

Judith Tizard said that the Louis Vuitton yachting series was a small part of the jump in accommodation figures in Auckland between December 2001 and December 2002, which meant that the underlying trend in guest nights is on the rise aside from major events such as the America's Cup.

"This is good news for Auckland, but a sustainable tourism sector depends on more than just numbers," said Judith Tizard.

"This ongoing increase in the numbers of guest nights indicates a strong pattern of growth, both in the domestic and international tourism markets. However, we need to balance building on the obvious economic benefits of tourism with putting in place effective policies for sustainable tourism to ensure the long-term interests of both the Auckland region and New Zealand.

"Tourism is a key driver of economic development for the Auckland region, as well as for New Zealand's national economy. In 2001, 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.

"New Zealand's tourism market is certainly booming, but it's important that we redouble our efforts to ensure that we build on the progress we have made so far and make tourism a genuinely sustainable industry."

Judith Tizard said the challenge was to encourage all those who choose to travel throughout New Zealand 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 to spend more.

"To achieve this goal, the entire sector must strive to find innovative solutions to issues of sustainablility."

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