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Tourism Growth Gathers Pace

The Government will work alongside the tourism industry to build on an encouraging growth in international visitor arrivals, Tourism Minister Mark Burton said today.

Mr Burton was commenting of the release of Statistics New Zealand’s International Visitor Arrival data for November which shows that New Zealand received a record high of 1,596,969 arrivals in the year ended November 1999.

International arrivals increased by 13.1 percent in the month of November and by 8.4 percent for the year ended November.

“Just one year ago, visitor arrivals had declined by 3.2 percent and the sector was in the doldrums. Today, it has attracted an additional 123,744 visitors and the rate of growth in arrivals is accelerating month by month,” Mr Burton said.

“The important thing is not the numbers themselves but what they mean for New Zealand. Given that each visitor spends on average $2,627 in New Zealand, the additional arrivals will have contributed an additional $325 million in foreign exchange earnings.

“It is a very encouraging way for the sector to round out the Millennium. As Tourism Minister I will be working with the industry to develop an industry-led national strategy to maximise the positive impacts of tourism.

“The growth in international arrivals has important benefits for New Zealand in terms of jobs and business opportunities. What’s more, the benefits are not confined to big cities or are captured by a few. The business actually takes place where the visitors go – to the regions like Northland, Bay of Plenty, Nelson/Marlborough, the West Coast and Otago. Tourism plays a vital role in these regional economies and they stand to reap the benefits of this strong growth performance.

“I welcome the contribution the tourism sector makes to the New Zealand economy and I look forward to working with the sector over the next three years in assisting it to realise its full potential”, Mr Burton concluded.

ends

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