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Tourism has its biggest September ever

21 October 2003 Media Statement

Tourism has its biggest September ever

148,420 visitors arrived in New Zealand in September of this year—the highest September figure on record, and an impressive nine percent increase on 2002.

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is welcoming the news, released today in Statistics New Zealand’s latest survey of international visitor arrivals.

“Clearly, New Zealand’s tourism industry is well on track for a full recovery. The entire sector has worked extremely well together to manage the very real issues they have been faced with over the past 12 months.

“Throughout this period, Tourism New Zealand has also continued to promote New Zealand internationally as one of the world’s most unique and sophisticated destinations, building our international reputation as a world-class, year-round travel choice. This work is clearly showing results.

“September saw record growth in some of our key markets, including nearly 20 percent growth from Australia and 16.3 percent from the United Kingdom. Visitors from Asia are down by only 3.7 percent overall—an excellent improvement from 16 percent down in August.

“Visitor numbers for the year are up five percent on the year ending September 2002, indicating that New Zealand will 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 stressed that the government and the sector are both focussed on growth in more than just visitor numbers.

“Visitor yield is increasing at a rate nearly double that of visitor numbers—a trend that is expected to continue throughout the period to 2009. By continuing to market New Zealand as an ideal choice for high-yield, high-value tourists, I believe that the industry will not only be able meet these positive expectations, but outperform 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 welcome sign 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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