11 March 2009

NZ expecting more backpackers during recession

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The tourism industry is expecting to see more backpackers as they escape the pressure of finding employment during the recession, reports TVNZ.

According to hostels in New Zealand, more international travellers are using the recession as a golden opportunity to take their OE and have a play around the other side of the world.  While the recession plays itself out, it seems young people are choosing to explore the world on budget travel rather than battle against the tough job market.

Given the financial situation, hostels have been winning out – being the cheaper form of accommodation – while three star bookings have taken a dive. 

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the youth market would be a priority to develop during the slowdown, as well as focusing on the burgeoning top-end tourist markets in China and India, particularly while the New Zealand dollar is showing favourable exchange rates for overseas visitors.

"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," Tourism New Zealand's UK and Europe regional manager Gregg Anderson said.

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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