STRONG GROWTH IN INTERNATIONAL VISITOR ARRIVALSTourism
Tourism Minister Lockwood Smith has welcomed today's Statistics New Zealand data which shows that international visitor arrivals to New Zealand have increased sharply.
"International visitor arrivals to New Zealand have reached a new all time high of 1,566,441 arrivals in the year ended September 1999, an increase of 7.5% over the previous year. This is the second consecutive month that a new high in year-ended arrivals has been achieved," Dr Smith said.
"These figures show the tremendous growth being achieved by the tourism sector and highlight the importance of tourism to the New Zealand economy.
In the month of September when the APEC summit was held in New Zealand, arrivals increased by 11.5%.
Significantly, the strongest growth was from APEC member countries, including the United States, which increased by 27%, Canada by 19.6%, and Asia by over 43%.
"New Zealand is now in a great position to capitalise on the massive international media coverage that APEC generated for New Zealand through the Tourism Board's "100% Pure New Zealand" global marketing strategy," Dr Smith said.
"I expect that New Zealand will achieve very significant long-term tourism benefits from its hosting of APEC and we can look forward to the America's Cup regatta and Millennium events adding further momentum in the coming months.
"The growth in international visitor arrivals has important tangible benefits for New Zealand in terms of jobs and business opportunities for New Zealanders. Research shows that each international visitor spends an average of $2,640 while in New Zealand, meaning that the additional arrivals over the past year may have contributed as much as $287 million additional foreign exchange earnings for New Zealand.
"The tourism industry is making a very solid contribution to the New Zealand economy, and as a high-value export industry, the owners, operators, the Tourism Industry Association and the Tourism Board deserve our admiration for delivering yet another record-breaking month," Dr Smith concluded.