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Auckland Gets A Big Slice Of Tourism Pie

Auckland Gets A Big Slice Of Top-Earning Tourism Pie

Tourism's role as the number one export dollar earner is paying off for Auckland, new tourism figures show.

Tamaki Makaurau MP John Tamihere says tourism industry data shows the partnership between the government and the Auckland tourism operators is paying off, with foreign and domestic visitors generating extra income in the region.

More than 300 tourism accommodation providers report data in the Auckland Regional council area.

The number of guest nights has increased by 22 per cent from 4.23 million in the year to May 2000, to 5.18 million in the year to this May.

"International visitors last year spent nearly $7.5 billion in New Zealand - an average of more than $3,300 each - earning more foreign exchange than the dairy industry," Mr Tamihere says.

Spending in Auckland by international visitors is forecast to increase by a whopping 98 per cent from $2122 million in 2002 to $4206 million by 2009.

"Every dollar spent by a visitor, be they Kiwi or Korean, helps create extra jobs and boosts returns across our region," Mr Tamihere says.

He says the growth of tourism from big fish to whale is no accident.

"In 2001, the government got the public and private sectors working together for the first time on a vision for the future in tourism. We want to balance economic gains with preserving our environment - because our pristine environment is prime drawcard for international visitors."

Mr Tamihere said the newly launched Tourism Planning Toolkit would help local authorities to evaluate and plan tourism opportunities.

"We're encouraging visitors to come year round and to visit lesser known areas. More than three million international visitors are predicted by the end of the decade. Our challenge is to continue to attract our share to Auckland - and ensure visitors leave only their footprints and with a wish to return."


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