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Visitors continue to make major economic contrib.

Hon Mark Burton
Minister of Tourism

Media Statement

Visitors continue to make major economic contribution

Minister of Tourism Mark Burton is today congratulating the tourism sector for another remarkable year.

According to the latest External Migration Survey, released today by Statistics New Zealand, visitor numbers for November 2003 show a seven percent increase on the previous year. In addition, this is the first November to see over 200,000 arrivals, making it a record month.

And preliminary results from the Tourism Research Council’s latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) show that international visitors spent a record $6.41 billion for the year to September 2003 —nearly ten percent more than last year, and more than double what was spent five years ago.

“This is an outstanding performance by any measure,” said Mark Burton. “But it is particularly satisfying to see such achievements in a year where tourism worldwide faced such considerable challenges as war, international terrorism, and the SARS virus.

“In the space of a single year, visitors from around the world injected an additional $561 million into the New Zealand economy. It is particularly pleasing that tourism earnings are growing significantly faster than arrivals, with spending up by 9.6 percent compared to a very healthy international arrival growth of 4.8 percent.

“New Zealand has truly become one of the world’s premiere destinations, with a reputation that is growing by the day. This year alone, four of New Zealand’s luxury lodges won places on Andrew Harper's authoritative top ten list of International Resort Hideaways. The readers of Wanderlust, one of the United Kingdom’s premiere travel publications, named New Zealand as the UK’s favourite holiday destination for the third time in a row.

“And, by hosting the world premiere of The Return of the King—an early Christmas present for the entire sector—New Zealand has once again gained invaluable publicity worldwide.

“Clearly, tourism is heading in the right direction, and continues to be a strong contributor to the economic development of New Zealand. The entire sector can be proud,” said Mark Burton.

The full External Migration Survey can be viewed at www.stats.govt.nz. Further IVS information is available on www.trcnz.govt.nz

ENDS

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