Tourism Mission To South And North America

  • Murray McCully

Tourism Minister Murray McCully leaves tonight to lead a two week tourism mission to South America and North America.

Mr McCully this week launches New Zealand's first official tourism marketing initiative in South America, at functions in Argentina, Brazil and Chile where he will be supported by New Zealand Tourism Board representatives. The Minister will meet with senior industry and Government figures.

Next week, Mr McCully will undertake tourism initiatives in North America, at New York, San Francisco, Vancouver and Los Angeles. The New York function, which he will host at the New York Yacht Club, will "underline New Zealand's intention to maximise the benefits of the America's Cup event."

Mr McCully says South America is "just getting started" as a tourism market.

"About 12,000 visitors came to New Zealand from South America last year," he said. "Access is getting easier all the time, with Qantas starting direct Auckland to Buenos Aires flights in two weeks time.

"We believe this is exactly the right time for New Zealand to signal that it is becoming a player in South America, from a tourism perspective. There are large numbers of people who have the means to travel and have been frequent visitors in the past to Europe and the UK. We need only a small share of that outbound market to be successful."

In the United States, Mr McCully says New Zealand is currently "on a roll".

"To date, our numbers from the US are up 12% for 1998, after declining visitor numbers for the previous four years. With the America's Cup and the Millennium events next year, there are opportunities for us to build our profile and our visitor numbers, starting with the World Cup of Golf later this month which will be widely televised in the US.

"The Government recently announced the availability of a further $12.5 million for tourism promotion and I expect the North American market to benefit significantly from this additional impetus."