04 February 2009

NZ tourism industry shows positive signs

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Survey results show that tourism businesses in New Zealand had positive results over summer despite the global financial meltdown, reports Yahoo News.

The Bank of New Zealand-Business NZ Performance of Services Index showed that 59 per cent of those businesses surveyed said that their main activity for tourism trading was positive over Christmas.

Tourism Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Cossar said the tourism industry has not been showing any distressing signs of lag, despite international visitor numbers slightly dropping. 

"The industry tell us that while international visitor numbers are generally down, bookings have held reasonably steady over late December and January. Anecdotal feedback from operators and Regional Tourism Organisations around the country also indicates that visitor activity over the Christmas-New Year period has largely been on a par with last year," Mr Cossar said.

"Some sectors such as holiday parks and backpacker accommodation are reporting even stronger than normal bookings," he adds.

It is expected that Australians looking to holiday closer to home would choose New Zealand as their destination in 2009, and will keep the tourism industry at its usually high levels.

Despite the current economic climate, figures are showing that more UK residents are flying to Australia and New Zealand to escape the woes of the UK recession than last year.  In Australia alone, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced that the number of Australian working holiday grants increased by 21 per cent when compared with the same period last year. 

As more UK and Irish nationals are taking up Australian and New Zealand working holidays than the previous year, it proves the prospect of working and travelling in the sunshine Down Under is far more appealing than riding out the economic storm in Britain.

The New Zealand working holiday visa scheme allows young travellers aged 18-30 years to work and travel the country for up to twelve months.  Those with a British passport have the opportunity of extending their travel by 23 months.

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