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Olympic Torch will keep Down Under profile on top

The arrival next week of the Olympic torch for its relay run through New Zealand will provide yet another chance for New Zealand to show what it has to offer to the rest of the world, Tourism Industry Association (TIA) Chief Executive Glenys Coughlan said today.

"Following on from the excellent exposure New Zealand got from the America's Cup, the Millennium celebrations and APEC, the Olympic torch relay is another chance for New Zealand to keep its international tourism profile high.

"A recent tourism industry survey showed that events like the Americas Cup and the Millennium do have positive flow on affects for our tourism industry in terms of visitor numbers and profile.

"The Olympic torch relay, starting next Monday, will get international coverage, and will help build on the positive image that New Zealand is gaining overseas as a unique, quality tourist destination. For that reason it is important for everyone involved to realise that they are not just carrying a torch for the Olympics, but are also helping advertise New Zealand as well."

Ms Coughlan said New Zealand also hoped to capitalise on visitors going to Australia later in the year for the Olympics. ?./more

"While it is difficult to quantify at this stage, we are hopeful that travellers who do come down to Australia will also come to New Zealand as part of their trip to the Olympics. The torch relay may help them to decide to add New Zealand to their itinerary," Ms Coughlan said.

"We must capitalise on the Olympics being in Sydney and build on the positive profile New Zealand has built up over the last year with high profile international events.

"If we are successful in getting Olympic bound travellers to come to New Zealand as well, it may be the first trip of many that they make to our shores, which will be great news for our tourism industry and our economy." Ms Coughlan said.

ENDS

More information: Simon King, Manager, Government and Media Relations 04 494 1845 or 025 282 507

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