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Visitor numbers down, but future trends positive

21 August 2003 Media Statement

Visitor numbers down, but trends positive for the future

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is encouraged by the results of Statistics New Zealand’s latest External Migration Survey.

Although the survey shows that July visitor numbers are still down by four percent overall on 2002, there is either recovery or positive growth in many of New Zealand’s key markets.

Total visitor numbers for the year ended July 2003 show an increase of four percent.

The survey was released today, and indicates that the Asian market is continuing to recover. Asian visitor numbers were down by 16 percent in July 2003, as compared to a decrease of 25 percent in June 2003.

“These numbers are very encouraging indeed. They show that while New Zealand has been affected by the impacts of the SARS virus, we are on the way to recovery, “ Mark Burton said.

There was strong growth in markets outside of Asia, with 15 percent more visitors from the United Kingdom and four percent more from the United States. Europe as a whole showed an 11 percent increase, with strong results in Ireland (up 14.4 percent), Germany (13.5 percent), and the Netherlands (up 11.7 percent).

Mark Burton said that the survey reinforced the importance of Tourism New Zealand’s Japanese Recovery Programme, which will begin next week.

“Japanese travellers are very aware of world events, and tend to be very safety conscious. Next week, I will travel to Japan, just as I did following the September 11 terrorist attacks. It is essential in this post-SARS period to show our commitment to a strong relationship between Japan and New Zealand, as well as to promote New Zealand as a unique, friendly, and peaceful destination—one that values and welcomes guests from Japan.”

Mark Burton stressed that New Zealand was still on track to end the year in positive growth mode, and said that the industry had worked well together to counter the downturn in numbers.

“New Zealand’s tourism industry has been extremely successful in meeting the many challenges it has been presented with over the past 12 months. Through their strong partnerships with government, forward thinking strategies, and an ever increasing emphasis on quality, I have no doubt the sector will continue to achieve and meet the many short and long term challenges that lie ahead.”


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