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Tourism sector is off to an impressive start in 04

Tourism sector is off to an impressive start in 2004

2003 might have been a record year for tourism, but 2004 is off to an even better start.

Visitor arrivals for January 2004 show that New Zealand welcomed 244,300 visitors for the month—an 11 percent increase over last year’s record figures, according to Statistics New Zealand’s latest External Migration survey.

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton said that the results of the survey are welcome indeed, particularly in the light of yesterday’s historic Oscar wins for Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings team.

“The entire New Zealand tourism sector was already in a pretty good mood this morning. Confirmation of another increase in visitors is icing on the cake.

“It’s also confirmation that the partnerships we have fostered between government and the industry continue to grow in strength. Tourism New Zealand has worked tirelessly with the sector over the past four years to promote New Zealand as a boutique, high-quality, sophisticated destination—a place that is not only spectacularly beautiful, but creative and culturally diverse as well.

“Peter Jackson has been absolutely dedicated to making sure the international film industry knows that the Lord of the Rings was a wholly New Zealand project—in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the workshops.

“Whale Rider, too, has given the world a glimpse of our unique culture and heritage. On an entirely different scale, Niki Caro and her team have illustrated our talent at telling powerful, distinctly New Zealand stories that speak to people all over the world.

“Only four short years ago, New Zealand was not particularly well known as an international destination. Last night, the entire world saw the proof that New Zealand is one of the most exciting, innovative, and creative nations in the world—an invaluable boost to our entire tourism sector.

“But neither the government nor the industry will ever take our success for granted. Given the extraordinary weather events over the past month, it is almost inevitable we will see an impact on visitor numbers, perhaps even as soon as February’s survey. But together, we will continue to build a sustainable, yield-driven sector—one that strikes a balance between managing the impacts of tourism on our unique nation and maximising its obvious economic benefits. “The spotlight is well on truly on us. As Minister of Tourism, I will continue to work with our thriving tourism sector to make the most of all opportunities to build on our already excellent international reputation.

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

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