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Sector must look beyond short-term issues

Sector must look beyond short-term issues

The latest report on international visitor arrivals shows a strong result for February 2002. The survey, released today by Statistics New Zealand, shows an increase of five percent in comparison to February 2002, with key markets such as Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Korea, and China all showing significant increases.

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is pleased by the results, which also show a nine percent increase in visitors arriving for a holiday, as well as a one-day increase in the average length of stay. However, he stressed that the current world global situation may impact on New Zealand’s tourism industry.

“Global events are unfolding that are of concern to the entire sector. Some people may restrict, delay, or even cancel travel plans. But while such events have the capability to influence the market, it is too early to judge what, if any, long-term impacts they will have on tourism in New Zealand. “The sector has already faced the effects of both September 11 and the terrorist attacks in Bali. In both cases, key tourism sector representatives worked tirelessly with the Government to carefully promote New Zealand’s global reputation as a safe, friendly tourism destination—work which continues today.

“These partnerships were critical in ensuring that a consistent, calm assessment of the situation was communicated. As a result, New Zealand’s tourism sector was able to bounce back relatively quickly, and since January 2002, we have experienced steady growth.

“New Zealand’s recovery in no way suggests that there is room for complacency or arrogance as we face the current situation. But it does illustrate the very tangible benefits of being able to mobilise swift, well-coordinated management response to rapidly changing events.

“We must continue to apply the same kind of coordinated response to the many challenges the sector faces in both the short and long term. We must continue to focus on balancing a rapid rate of growth with care, protection and, wherever possible, enhancement of our natural and made environments.

“I see tourism as nothing less than New Zealand’s most exciting and potentially valuable industry, and I am committed to continuing to work with the sector to make appropriate choices for both the industry and New Zealand.”

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