Interest In NZ High In Brazil

  • Murray McCully

Interest in New Zealand as a tourism destination is "encouragingly high" in Brazil according to Tourism Minister Murray McCully who is currently leading a tourism mission to South America.

Mr McCully says that over 200 tourism wholesalers at the New Zealand launch function and over 40 media at the press conference were "signs of a market waiting to be taken more seriously".

Last year nearly 4,000 Brazilians visited New Zealand.

Mr McCully says the combination of the Government's recent decision to give visa-free access to Brazilian tourists from 1 January 1999 and increases to airline capacity "should mean we are going to see some steady growth".

"The current tourism mission couldn't come at a better time. Our decision on visa waiver for Brazilian tourists has been very well received. And with Qantas starting twice weekly flights from Auckland to Buenos Aires on 20th November, we should see an end to any questions about our capacity for a while."

Mr McCully said over four million Brazilians travelled out of the country every year, with about one and a half million going beyond South America.

"There is a very large group in Brazil who are significantly wealthy," he said. "The recent impact in Brazil of international economic difficulties would not make a serious dent in their lifestyles," he said.

"We only need a very small share of this large and profitable market and I am confident that if we maintain our efforts, we will certainly get it."