18 September 2008

International visitor spend continues to rise in NZ

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Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor announced yesterday that international visitors to New Zealand are spending more money than ever before. The Ministry of Tourism's International Visitor Survey shows international visitor spend increased by almost five percent in the year to June 2008, up to $6.2 billion.

As tourism is New Zealand’s largest exporter, Mr O'Connor said the news has been greatly welcomed by the tourism sector and the New Zealand government. 

"We may be a long haul destination, but our successful, world famous 100% Pure New Zealand brand continues to draw more international visitors across the world to experience what we have to offer, and it's great to hear they are spending more," said Mr O'Connor.

"There are a number of challenges for the industry at present with rising fuel prices and a fluctuating exchange rate. This new data proves New Zealand continues to be attractive to international visitors and that the industry continues to earn real wealth for our economy," he added.

The biggest spending increases were from the Australian and United Kingdom markets, where annual spending increased by 16.5 per cent (to $1.7 billion) and 13.7 per cent (to $1 billion) respectively. 

In a media release from the Tourism Industry Association (TIA), the TIA Chief Executive Tim Cossar said the tourism industry has to be congratulated for maintaining strong growth in the tourism sector despite challenging market conditions.

"TIA’s members are telling us very clearly that it is not 'business as usual' – they are facing a quickly weakening international economy, rapidly rising prices and increasing international competition," he added.

TIA have recently given the government a Tourism Manifesto which is intended to strengthen the relationship between the government and the tourism sector, so that tourism can continue to contribute positively to the growth of the nation. 

Many international visitors to New Zealand do not have to apply for a tourist visa to holiday in the country.  Australian citizens have visa-free entry to New Zealand, while British citizens can holiday in the country for up to 6 months on a New Zealand Visitor’s Permit.  Nationals from countries part of the visa waiver agreement with New Zealand can visit the country for no more than three months without needing to apply for a New Zealand tourist visa.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

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