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Domestic travel spend significant - O'Connor

Domestic travel spend significant - O'Connor

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New Zealanders took fewer domestic trips last year but still managed to pump more than $7 billion into the New Zealand economy, Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

Mr O'Connor was commenting on the latest Domestic Travel Survey figures, for the year to March 2005, which are released today.

Spending on domestic travel for the year is $7.01 billion, down 9.5 per cent from the previous year.

Mr O'Connor said the results, while not unexpected, demonstrated that being competitive in a global travel market was a constant challenge.

"New Zealanders know a bargain when they see one. The high dollar and low air fairs brought about by tough competition between airlines has meant that more Kiwis are travelling overseas, including for their holidays.

"The challenge is for us to redouble our efforts to draw attention to the wonderful destinations and facilities that are right here on our doorstep.

"The government has identified the importance of domestic tourism to the New Zealand economy. It is committed to working with the industry to help promote the multitude of excellent reasons for holidaying at home."

Mr O'Connor said that while the amount spent by New Zealanders on domestic travel was down, the latest result comes after two particularly strong years.

"It is important to put the figures in context. The year to March 2005 was still the third best result since the survey began in 1999, and over the same period international travellers holidaying in New Zealand spent $3.2 billion - also the third best March year figure on record."

ENDS

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