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Visitor arrival numbers excellent news

Visitor arrival numbers excellent news for the sector

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is welcoming Statistics New Zealand’s latest external migration figures, which show a five percent increase in visitor arrivals for April 2003, when compared to the figures for April 2002.

“This is excellent news. There has been understandable concern about the potential consequences of SARS for New Zealand tourism. While these figures show that the virus has had some impact, the numbers are very encouraging indeed.

“This is not the first time the sector has been faced with immense challenges. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, international travel was significantly affected around the world.

“It was essential then for the government and the sector to work in partnership to ensure that a consistent, calm assessment of the situation was communicated. This situation emerged again in October 2002, with the terrorist attacks in Bali.

“In the ensuing period, the industry has continued to focus on building a fundamentally strong industry—an industry dedicated to quality, with a clear vision of where it is going and who its customers are. It is this clear focus which has positioned the industry to confront such short-term issues as SARS. These numbers are further evidence of the sector’s underlying strength.

“This in no way suggests that there is ever room for complacency or arrogance as we evaluate and manage any ongoing impacts of SARS. 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.

“I congratulate the entire industry for maintaining international visitor demand throughout this difficult period.”

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