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New Zealand’s accommodation sector still strong

21 January 2004 Media Statement
New Zealand’s accommodation sector still going strong

2003 was a solid year for New Zealand’s accommodation sector, with 2004 already off to a great start.

Today’s Statistics New Zealand’s Accommodation Survey shows an increase of one percent in guest nights for November 2003, in comparison to the record figures of 2002, with an 11 percent increase on 2001. Nine of New Zealand’s 12 regions recorded an increase in guest nights.

Tourism Minister Mark Burton said that the figures clearly illustrate tourism’s continued role as a driver of strong economic growth throughout New Zealand.

“Tourism’s growth potential for economic return is huge, with international visitor expenditure already representing an impressive 15.7 percent of our export earnings. Combined with domestic earnings, the sector overall contributes $16.2 billion per annum to our economy. With forecasts predicting that international visitor expenditure will increase by 9.7 percent per year to 2009, tourism is well placed to give dairy a run for its money as our number one export industry.

“This year has already seen Treetops Lodge and Wharekauhau Country Estate named among the world’s best lodges in the prestigious Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report. Premiere travel publication Conde Nast last year named the Auckland Hilton as on of the top ten hotels in the Pacific region. And the staff at Lonely Planet have this month named New Zealand as the world’s best destination for two years running.

“It’s no accident that New Zealand tourism has seen record growth over the past four years. The sector’s success has been built through strong partnerships between government and industry. Projects such as the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010 and our recent cultural tourism development programme are driving strong growth throughout the regions. And, by leveraging off such high-profile projects as The Lord of the Rings and Whale Rider, we have greatly increased New Zealand’s international status as a premiere destination.

“Clearly, the entire sector is reaping the rewards of some very hard work, but we can never afford to rest on our laurels. Both government and the industry must continue to focus on balancing healthy industry growth with the protection of the unique environments that our guests come halfway around the world to see. The long-term future of the industry depends on it,” said Mark Burton.

The full survey is available on www.stats.govt.nz.

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