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International Visitor Arrivals Reach New High

MEDIA STATEMENT
21 September 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INTERNATIONAL VISITOR ARRIVALS REACH NEW HIGH

Tourism Minister Lockwood Smith has welcomed today's Statistics New Zealand data, which shows the highest number of international arrivals in New Zealand's history.

International visitor arrivals to New Zealand have reached an all time high of 1,554,698 arrivals in the year ended August 1999, an increase of seven percent over the previous year.

"This new high tops the previous mark set in March 1997 before the New Zealand tourism sector suffered from the effects of the Asian economic crisis, and represents a real milestone for the New Zealand tourism sector," Dr Smith said.

"Today's results are positive not just for the tourism industry, but for all New Zealanders. Research shows that each international visitor spends an average of $2,640, meaning that the arrivals over the past year may have contributed as much as $4.1 billion in foreign exchange to the New Zealand economy.

"This means more jobs and business opportunities for New Zealanders, as well as increased tax revenue for the Government.

"But the real winner today is the New Zealand tourism industry - the owners, operators, the Tourism Industry Association and the New Zealand Tourism Board, who have worked together over the past couple of years to develop a fresh, dynamic approach to marketing New Zealand in our offshore markets.

"These are exciting times for the tourism industry. Today's statistics don't include data covering the recent APEC summit, and we can expect ongoing growth from major events such as the America's Cup and Millennium events over the coming year. The challenge is to sustain this growth into the first decade of the new millennium," Dr Smith said.

ENDS

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