Strong Growth Into The Next CenturyTourism
Tourism Minister Murray McCully has returned from leading a twelve day tourism mission to North and South America, describing prospects as "very strong indeed".
Mr McCully says that while North America visitor arrivals for 1998 are up by 12%, "the best is yet to come".
"Over the past few months we have seen North America visitor numbers exceed first the United Kingdom and then Japan, and all of the signs I saw on my visit suggest continued strong growth into the next century".
"In particular, the America's Cup provides a strong opportunity to raise the profile of Destination New Zealand in North America, and I was most encouraged to receive positive feedback on the event from tourism wholesalers and from key North American syndicates".
Mr McCully described the Canadian market as having been "in a holding pattern for the past year or two".
"With the additional effort we plan there, and the recent annoucement of an increase in airline capacity, we should start to see some good growth".
The Minister is also predicting "very strong growth" out of Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
"The number of airline seats between South America and New Zealand will increase by about 90% over the next few months. With only 12 000 visitors from South America last year, but a huge market of wealthy people to draw from, we should be able to generate serious growth over the next few years".
"The recent decision to offer visa-free access to Argentina, Chile and Brazil will contribute to ease of travel from these markets to New Zealand, and I am confident that we will make the most of the potential these markets have to offer".