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Celebrating five strong years of tourism

10 December 2004

Burton: Celebrating five strong years of tourism

Mark Burton is today celebrating his fifth anniversary as Tourism Minister, as well as five years of impressive industry growth. International visitor numbers have grown steadily from 1.5 million in 1999 to 2.3 million in the year ended October 2004. Visitor spending has grown even more strongly, more than doubling from $3.6 billion to $7.4 billion in the same period.

Mark Burton says that tourism has emerged as both an international success story and an economic powerhouse for New Zealand, generating ten percent of New Zealand’s GDP, directly and indirectly responsible for one in ten jobs, and New Zealand’s largest foreign exchange earner.

“We do indeed have a lot to celebrate. The past few years have seen both a quantum leap in our international profile and incredible growth in visitor numbers and spend. At the same time, government and the sector have worked on the development and implementation of New Zealand’s Tourism Strategy 2010, a key document that sets out a series of practical steps towards sustainability. “But tourism’s unprecedented success is no accident. Five years ago, there was no recent history of partnerships between the government and the sector.

“This government changed all that. We have built strong working partnerships with the industry, and the strength of these relationships has seen us through the aftermath of September 11, the Bali bombing, the outbreak of SARS, currency fluctuations, and international conflicts. In the past few years, very few countries will have seen growth in either visitor numbers or expenditure. We achieved both.

“But we are not about to sit back and rest on our laurels. On the contrary, we will work to strengthen these relationships and build a truly sustainable tourism sector for New Zealand—one that balances the industry’s obvious economic benefits with the care, protection, and, wherever possible, the enhancement of New Zealand’s natural and cultural environments.

“We continue to support Qualmark, the industry’s standardised quality assurance system. We are also working closely with industry to improve business practice across the sector and grapple with issues of industry education, training, and career opportunities.

“In 2000, I established the Tourism Research Council New Zealand to develop a quality information base and provide strategy leadership on tourism research matters. My Ministry currently has forecasting and infrastructure projects well underway, as well as a joint Ministry/Tourism Industry Association project to improve visitor yield.

I have also recently announced five new $15,000 Masters-level research scholarships, established to foster research on real industry issues. And on top of all that, Tourism New Zealand’s award-winning marketing continues to garner a worldwide reputation for excellence.

“Tourism’s potential is almost limitless. I look forward to working even more closely with this world-class industry in the future.”

ENDS

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