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Christmas comes early for New Zealand’s tourism se

Christmas comes early for New Zealand’s tourism sector

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is delighted by the news that annual inbound visitor numbers totalled over 2 million people for the first time ever this year. And he’s even more delighted that statistics are showing that our visitors are staying longer and spending more.

“Tourism New Zealand has been working hard to promote New Zealand as one of the world’s most unique and sophisticated destination, with the aim of building our international reputation as a world-class, year-round travel destination.

“The results of this work are apparent—both the number of visitors and their economic input are in positive growth mode. According to the latest Ministry of Tourism report on visitor spending, international visitors added nearly $6 billion to the New Zealand economy last year, with an average spend of nearly $3500 per person.

“That’s an increase of 14 percent on last year, and 95 percent since 1997.”

According to Statistics New Zealand’s latest report on International Visitor Arrivals, a total of 2,019,078 visitors arrived in New Zealand in the year ended November 2002. This represents a 5.5% increase over November 2001, and illustrates the tourism sector’s extremely strong performance in the post-September 11 year.

Visitor arrivals have grown from 250,000 in 1972, and doubled since 1992.

But while hitting the 2 million mark well before Christmas is excellent news for New Zealand’s tourism sector, Mark Burton stressed that it is vital to look at more than just the numbers.

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“New Zealand’s long term interests are best served if our visitors travel at different times of the year, stay longer, increase their spend, and visit not only the traditional spots, but venture out into all regions.

“In keeping with our Tourism Strategy 2010, we are continuing to work in partnership with the industry to make this happen. It’s essential to find the right balance between industry growth and protecting what attracts them in the first place: our unique environments and the communities and cultures of New Zealand who host and supply the services to tourists.

“Tourism continues to represent one of New Zealand’s most promising economic opportunities, and this Government is focussed on building a sustainable future for our tourism market.

“Today’s statistics are a credit to both the industry and the Government. I congratulate the entire industry for their hard work and commitment.”

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