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Increases will facilitate growing visitor numbers

21 September 2004

Funding increases will facilitate growing visitor numbers

News that government is putting an extra $5.75 million into extra border control staff and equipment will be welcomed by New Zealand’s tourism sector, says Tourism Minister Mark Burton—particularly in light of today’s Statistics New Zealand External Migration Survey, which shows an increase of 12 per cent in visitor arrivals for August 2004 over the same period last year.

The funding, set to increase to $7.7 million in out years, will ease congestion at Auckland and Christchurch international airports by providing more Customs and MAF Quarantine officers, as well as new MAF x-ray equipment.

Mark Burton says the decision couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Tourism is a premiere export earner, with strong growth predicted to the end of the decade. According to the most recent forecasts, visitor numbers look set to grow by nearly six per cent per year, reaching 3.1 million arrivals in 2010. With visitor spending set to grow at an even more impressive 8.5 per cent per annum—totalling $11.3 billion in 2010—tourism is, by any measure, a key industry for New Zealand.

“But if we are going to sustain our reputation as one of the world’s most sought-after destinations, we have to ensure our guests have a quality experience from the moment they arrive. Lengthy queues and airport congestion are hardly the way to begin a world-class holiday.

“By providing more personnel and new equipment on the ground, we are taking proactive steps to address these issues before the beginning of the busy peak season.

“This government has worked in close partnership with the industry for the past four and a half years to address issues of quality and sustainability. I congratulate both Auckland and Christchurch airports for their work with the border agencies to solve this issue.

“Today’s announcement is another excellent example of a whole of government approach to our tourism sector’s long-term future,” said Mark Burton.

For further funding details, please see www.customs.govt.nz The full External Migration Survey can be viewed at www.stats.govt.nz

ENDS


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