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Tourism industry facing a steady summer season

Tourism industry facing a steady summer season after years of stellar growth

Tourism operators are being advised to think about sustainability and their environmental credentials as they gear up for the peak summer season.

Tourism Export Council Chief Executive Judy Chen said the sector was expecting a slight dip in arrivals for summer, but for many that would be an opportunity to take stock and ensure they were well set up for future growth.

“Things in the tourism industry are never static and we are seeing new trends emerging quickly, particularly in areas like concern over travellers’ environmental footprint from air travel and the use of technology for bookings,” Ms Chen said.

“We know visitors are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of travel, so operators should be looking at how they can help people feel comfortable with their choice to come here, promoting the sustainability of their operations or making changes to improve sustainability.”

The Australian independent traveller and the US markets are expected to hold up well over the peak summer months, Europe was holding steady and China looks likely to continue to pull back from the dramatic growth of past years.

Stuart Neels, Group General Manager of The AOT Group NZ, said flight shaming was receiving more profile in the European and Scandinavian media and while it wouldn’t necessarily translate into an immediate change in behaviour, travellers were becoming more aware of it as an issue.

With the uncertainty being caused by Brexit in the UK, the crucial September and October booking period had been affected, he said.

Anna Black, Executive Director of General Travel New Zealand, said in a softening market everyone was hungry for business and diversification into multiple markets would hold companies in good stead.

“We are looking at the 2019/2020 season as a ‘market correction’ after 3 to 5 years of incredible, unprecedented growth. The forecast is still putting numbers above where we were at 2 to 3 years ago. This is a time to take stock, up-skill staff and plan for a busy yet more manageable season,” she said.

China remains a dominant market for New Zealand and as a destination it is now well-positioned as a premier destination popular with younger fully independent travellers making up nearly 70 per cent of arrivals.

Lisa Li from China Travel Service said as a premier destination New Zealand was achieving high satisfaction rates with visitors and should not expect dramatic growth year-on-year.

“What we are seeing is how fast youth travellers from China are embracing technology, and that is reflected in their travel choice. They are a heavily technology-savvy generation doing everything from sourcing information to making reservations to making payments over their mobile phone and companies have to be able to support that way of doing business,” Ms Li said.

Ms Chen said although things were slowing down slightly from the huge growth of past years the industry was still in strong position and preparing for a busy summer season.

ENDS

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