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New facility a reflection of tourism’s future

New facility a reflection of tourism’s sustainable future

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton has today congratulated award-winning KEA Campers for choosing to expand into the South Island.

Speaking at the official opening of their new depot in Christchurch, Mark Burton said that KEA’s investment in the new facility showed their confidence in New Zealand’s tourism sector over the long term—a feeling that he strongly shares.

“Tourism is one of the most exciting and potentially valuable industries in New Zealand, already supporting one in eleven jobs. International visitor expenditure contributes an impressive 15.7 percent to our overall export earnings. When combined with domestic tourism, the sector adds $15.2 billion per year to our economy.

“With an expected increase in international visitor arrivals of 5.7 percent per year to 2009, an increase in visitor nights of 6.7 percent and, most importantly, an average increase of 9.7 percent per year in international visitor expenditure, tourism is nipping at the heels of dairy to become this country’s number one export industry.

“To succeed in such a volatile industry requires businesses with a clear focus on service, and on delivering high-quality products that exceed our visitors’ expectations. It requires putting professionally trained, high-quality personnel on the frontlines, and rewarding them well for the kind of world-class service which will bring our guests back again and again. And it requires fostering tourism as an industry in which a generation of young people can confidently choose tourism as their career.

“Figures released today show that 2,106,229 international visitors arrived in New Zealand in 2003—an three percent increase on 2002’s record figures. This is by any measure an outstanding result, but it is particularly satisfying to see such strong growth over the course of a year marked by the impacts of the SARS virus, global terrorism, and international conflict.

“None of this has happened by accident, and none of us can afford to become complacent. Both government and industry must continue to focus on lifting quality levels across the sector—the key to ensuring tourism’s sustainable future,” Mark Burton said.

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