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Visitor numbers up for the first time since April

19 September 2003 Media Statement
Visitor numbers up for the first time since April

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is welcoming the results of Statistics New Zealand’s latest international visitor arrivals survey.

The survey shows that total visitor numbers in August increased two percent on 2002, with growth of 19 percent in visitors from the United Kingdom and 14 percent from Australia.

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

“This is excellent news indeed,” said Mark Burton. “These numbers show that the industry continues to work well to counter the many challenges it has been presented with over the past 12 months. New Zealand has certainly been affected by the impacts of the SARS virus, but we are recovering well.

“Although our Asian markets are still down by 16 percent—the same percentage we saw in July—we are seeing strong increases in other key markets. Europe is up by 14 percent overall, with exceptional growth in Germany (33 percent) and Switzerland (22 percent). Tourism New Zealand has just begun its Japanese Recovery Programme, and I am confident we will soon see positive result in visitor numbers from Asia.

“The sector is still on track to end the year in positive growth mode. Indeed, many in the industry are predicting that this summer will be New Zealand’s strongest season yet.”

Mark Burton also emphasised that while an increase in numbers is a significant indicator of growth, it is also important to consider other factors.

“The recently released Tourism Research Council forecasts show that visitor yield is increasing at a rate nearly double that of visitor numbers. Impressive as these numbers are, I believe that the industry is more than capable of outperforming them.

“Our international reputation as a desirable, year-round destination is growing by the day, underpinned by the sector’s strong partnerships with government, forward thinking strategies, and an ever increasing emphasis on quality. Today’s survey is a clear indication that New Zealand’s tourism industry is on the right track.”

The full survey (External Migration) can be viewed at www.stats.govt.nz

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