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Accommodation survey highlights challenges

Accommodation survey highlights challenges for tourism sector

A record occupancy rate for February 2003 shows that the accommodation sector is still strong.

The latest accommodation survey, released today by Statistics New Zealand, shows that total guest nights for the month reached 3.1 million. This is the highest national occupancy rate since the survey began and represents a six percent increase in comparison to February 2002

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is welcoming the survey’s results, but he stresses that the current world situation is presenting the entire tourism sector with some very real challenges.

“Global events are unfolding that are of concern to tourism world-wide. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some travellers are delaying trips, changing their destinations, or even cancelling altogether. Indeed, industry research indicates that New Zealand may see some reduction in April and May visitor arrivals, especially from the Asian and European markets.

“But while such events certainly have the capability to influence the market, it is simply too early to judge what, if any, long-term impacts they will have on tourism in New Zealand.

“It is important for the government and the sector to keep working together to ensure that a consistent, calm assessment of the situation is communicated—just as we did in the period after both the events of September 11 and the 2002 terrorist attacks in Bali.

“As a result of prudent management, strategic thinking, and strong partnerships, New Zealand’s tourism sector not only recovered relatively quickly, it gained a larger market share.

“The industry’s recovery in no way suggests that there is room for complacency or arrogance as we face the current situation. As always, the sector must continue to focus on prudent business practice and attention to quality coupled with swift, well-coordinated management response to rapidly changing events. This approach will leave the industry best placed to minimise any short-term impacts from the current situation.”

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