Minister warns not to expect continued high growth in visitor numbers

  • Murray McCully

Tourism Minister Murray McCully is warning not to expect continued high growth in visitor numbers in the short term.

Speaking at the opening of the Novotel Hotel in Wellington, Mr McCully says there are indications that, from the perspective of visitor numbers, the industry would be facing a quieter time in the foreseeable future.

"The first six years of the Board's operations have been a period of huge success. With new Board leadership, now is the time to look at how we take the decisions which will guide us into the next century."

"I have asked them to focus on new ways to improve visitor growth and, more importantly, visitor yield, and to improve our performance in the traditional markets while maintaining the momentum in emerging markets," he said.

"We should be realistic about what to expect in the next twelve to eighteen months," he said. "It may be tempting to respond with some short term decisions, but it is important to take a long term strategic look at the issues."

Mr McCully said there were extra-ordinary opportunities for the industry over the next five years.

"There are a number of remarkable opportunities coming up for the New Zealand tourism industry within the next few years such as the Millennium events, but it is important to ensure the right strategies are in place to harness the full benefits of these events,"

Mr McCully said he was satisfied that with the growing maturity of the tourism industry and New Zealand Tourism Board that New Zealand was well equipped to deal with the challenges ahead.