09 March 2009

NZ will attract high numbers of UK backpackers this winter: Tourism NZ

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George Hickton, chief executive of Tourism New Zealand, said that while top-end tourism in New Zealand is likely to take a different direction this year, they are expecting the numbers of young British backpackers to flock to the country over winter.

According to the Southland Times, while New Zealand tourism operators will be looking to sell top-end tourism in New Zealand to wealthy travellers in India and China, they will also be preparing themselves for a strong performance in the young travellers sector.

Tourism New Zealand's UK and Europe regional manager Gregg Anderson said that while the UK rides out the rising unemployment situation, more young graduates would be heading to New Zealand to have a play.

"There are lots of youth tickets being sold and lots of gap years ... University will be finishing soon and, with graduate positions down 40 per cent (because of the recession), a lot of people will be looking to Mummy and Daddy's credit cards and be on a plane," Mr Anderson told reporters.

Tourism New Zealand is also expecting Australians to continue holidaying in New Zealand in high numbers this year, particularly during the ski season as it becomes more expensive to ski in Japan, Europe and America during the global downturn.  Yet, although the east coast of Australia typically is New Zealand's largest tourism market, Mr Hickton said this season would be a strong season for British backpackers.

Young British backpackers can apply for a New Zealand working holiday visa, which allows nationals from participating countries to work and holiday in New Zealand for up to 12 months in any given job.  British nationals also have the opportunity of extending this visa for another eleven months.


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