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2002: A very good year indeed

2002: A very good year indeed

The latest Statistics New Zealand survey of visitor arrivals has confirmed what Minister of Tourism Mark Burton has known for quite a while—New Zealand’s tourism market is experiencing an unprecedented boom.

The survey shows that visitor arrivals increased by 7 percent in 2002, adding up to a total of 2.04 million in the year to December. More than half came to New Zealand for a holiday. Visitor numbers in our top five markets all increased, and a number of smaller source countries, such as India, Italy, France, and Ireland, all showed significant gains of 20 percent or more.

Mark Burton says that these numbers are proof positive that hard work pays.

“2002 was certainly an extraordinary year, but our current level of growth is due to more than just fortunate circumstances. At the core of New Zealand’s thriving tourism market are strong partnerships, fostered over the past three years between the sector and the Government.

“Together, we formulated the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, with the objective of creating a sustainable, yield-driven strategy—one that strikes a balance between the carefully managing impacts of our growing tourism sector and its potential economic benefits.

“If we get that balance right—and get it right we must—we can enhance both our visitors’ experience and New Zealanders’ quality of life.”

Mark Burton stressed that the industry is well on the way to finding this balance.

“Visitor yield is growing significantly faster than visitor numbers. Recent projections by the Tourism Research Council indicate that while international visitor arrivals will increase by 6% per year to 2008, visitor yield is projected to grow at nearly double that rate, or a total of 72%, in that same period. By 2008, this will translate to $9.7 billion added to the New Zealand economy.

“Our challenge is to balance this kind of growth with care, protection and, wherever possible, enhancement of our natural and made environments. It is to encourage our 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.

“I see tourism as nothing less than New Zealand’s most exciting and potentially valuable industry. As we look forward, we face real challenges as well as enormous opportunities.

“We have the great good fortune of time enough to manage these challenges and our responses to them. I congratulate the industry on their initiative and dedication to building a truly sustainable tourism sector that will benefit all New Zealanders.”

Full survey results are available on http://www.stats.govt.nz.

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