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Visitor expenditure increases again

28 April 2004 Media Statement

Visitor expenditure increases again

International visitors injected $6.4 billion into the New Zealand economy in 2003—an impressive 3.9 per cent increase on 2002’s record figures, and a continuation of tourism’s strong growth trend.

Tourism Minister Mark Burton says he is “absolutely delighted” with the figures, which were released today by the Ministry of Tourism.

“In a year where the tourism sector faced such major world-wide challenges as SARS, global conflict, and terrorism, as well as significant changes to our exchange rate, New Zealand has emerged as an international success story. Very few nations will have seen positive growth in either visitor numbers or expenditure in 2003. We achieved both.

“Our tourism industry’s success is built on strong, cross-sector relationships and innovative, world-class marketing solutions. In 1999, the government began to work closely with the industry to develop the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010—a plan for building a sustainable tourism industry that strikes a balance between managing the impacts of tourism on our unique nation and maximising its obvious economic benefits.

“During this same period, Tourism New Zealand developed the multi-award winning 100% Pure New Zealand campaign and refined our target customer to maximise impact.

“Our strong partnerships with the sector have enabled us to respond to world events in a collaborative and coordinated way, as well as to act quickly and efficiently to leverage off The Lord of the Rings and, more recently, Whale Rider, to raise international awareness of New Zealand as a premiere destination. And, as today’s survey illustrates, our strategy is working.

“Visitor arrival figures for March 2004 show an increase of over nine per cent on 2003. Latest accommodation figures show a three per cent increase on guest nights for February 2004, with nine out of twelve regions registering more guest nights than in 2003.

“For the first time ever, the Australian market has exceeded $1 billion, reaching $1.18 billion, up 26% from 2002. Overall, the 2003 figures show a near doubling of the 1998 spending level.

“It’s clear that tourism continues to be a winner for New Zealand—I congratulate the entire sector for this outstanding success.”

For further information, please see www.trcnz.govt.nz. Visitor numbers and accommodation figures are available on www.stats.govt.nz.

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