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UK programme a resounding success

UK programme a resounding success

Minister of Defence and Tourism Mark Burton returned today from a highly successful two-week programme in the United Kingdom, where he met with senior ministers and officials and took part in several high profile events showcasing New Zealand as a premiere tourist destination.

In his role as Minister of Defence, he met with NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson, Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon, and Minister for Defence Procurement Lord Bach, as well as holding a series of briefings and meetings with senior Defence personnel. Mark Burton said that his discussions with Secretary Hoon were “particularly productive.”

“The UK is one of our closest defence partners, and I was extremely pleased by the positive feedback I received about the work of the NZDF in their many deployments around the world. Our service men and women continue to be held in the highest regard by both the British government and their armed forces.

“I also had the opportunity to raise again with Secretary Hoon a pay issue affecting one World War II veteran, Mr Ross Lynneberg, who was captured and held as a prisoner of war while serving in the British Navy. I am pleased that Secretary Hoon agreed to personally review the situation again to ensure that Mr Lynneberg’s case has received full and fair consideration.

“As Minister of Tourism, I was also delighted to find that New Zealand’s reputation as one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world continues to grow.

“The United Kingdom has traditionally been a strong market for New Zealand, now second only to Australia in terms of visitor numbers. But, beyond their worth in terms of market share, guests from the UK are valuable in terms of their fit with our target market— high-value travellers who regularly visit international destinations, like to get off the beaten track, and consume a wide range of tourism products.

“The past two weeks have included a string of meetings and interviews with key UK tourism and travel media, speaking at and presenting the premiere award at the Tourism New Zealand Awards, speaking at the Women in Film reception at the London Film Festival, which this year featured three New Zealand filmmakers, and visiting the sold-out Lord of the Rings exhibition.

“One of my key commitments in the UK was attending the opening day at the World Travel Mart (WTM), one of Europe's leading travel trade exhibitions. New Zealand was showcased at the WTM as a premiere destination to over 40,000 industry and media representatives.”

Mark Burton concluded his visit by representing the New Zealand government at the dedication ceremony for the Australian war memorial at Hyde Park Corner, as well as viewing the site of the recently announced New Zealand war memorial, which will be built adjacent.

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