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New Zealand is Top Country in UK

News from Tourism New Zealand - 23/09/05

New Zealand has been voted the best country in the world for the first time ever at the Condé Nast Traveller Awards 2005 in the UK.

New Zealand also took out the top overall prize, beating out winners of 23 other categories.

"The result is gratifying not just because of the win, but because the readers who voted for us are the sorts of people we are trying to attract to New Zealand. This is further evidence of the benefits of the strong and positive working relationship between the government and the wider sector in building New Zealand's reputation as a high quality visitor destination," said Tourism Minister Mark Burton. " Condé Nast Traveller readers are affluent, upwardly mobile professionals, and, most importantly, are very interested in travel. This really is an amazing result.

"New Zealand frequently features high in Condé Nast Traveller reader’s preferences - often coming second and third in the prestigious awards, but this is the first time that we have won," Mark Burton said.

Thirty thousand Condé Nast Traveller readers voted for their favourite holiday destination in a questionnaire published earlier this year.

Readers graded their chosen country in 10 separate categories. These included climate, culture, food and scenery. With an overall rating of 97.33 (out of a possible 100), New Zealand beat Thailand, Australia and Italy to take out the top country spot.

New Zealand received top marks for scenery (99), environmental friendliness (98.87) and safety (97).

Condé Nast Traveller is a monthly glossy magazine with a circulation of 83,092 (ABC), which has risen steadily since its launch in the UK in 1997.

The annual awards are voted for by readers alone, making them one of the most rewarding accolades within the UK travel industry.

New Zealand's High Commissioner to London, the Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt, collected both awards.

Visitor arrivals from the UK for year ended July 2005 were 308,000, an increase of over 10 per cent from 2004.

This is a very gratifying success for New Zealand, but success for tourism in this country is not new. It has won many awards in recent years.

Some of the awards won by the country as a whole since 1999

  • New Zealand was voted top country in the Conde Nast Readers’ Travel Awards in 1999 and was voted second most highly rated holiday destination in the world at the Conde Nast Traveller Awards 2000 in the UK.
  • New Zealand won the Guardian & Observer newspapers award for best long-haul destination in 2,000, 2,002 and 2,003.
  • Readers of US Recommend Magazine (a travel agent title) with a circulation of 55,000 chose New Zealand as number one in 2003.
  • New Zealand was runner-up for country on the up’ in Sunday Times? Travel Magazine (UK) awards. with Croatia first and Australia third, in 2003.
  • Lonely Planet staffers named New Zealand the hot destination for 2003 and 2004.
  • New Zealand was voted the best long haul destination in the Guardian/Observer awards, UK, in 2004.
  • In the Telegraph Awards (UK) New Zealand was voted the best destination in 2004.
  • New Zealand was voted in the top five tourism destinations in the world by the readers of Lonely Planet in February 2005.
International awards for luxury accommodation have been won since 2000 by:
  • The Lodge at Paratiho Farms near Nelson
  • Matakauri Lodge, Millbrook, Eichardts and Nugget Point Resort in Queenstown
  • Blanket Bay near Glenorchy on Lake Wakatipu
  • Huka Lodge and Point Villas in Taupo
  • Wharekauhau in Featherston
  • Treetops Lodge in Charteris Bay on Lyttelton Harbour
  • The Auckland Hilton
  • Otahuna Lodge Tai Tapu
  • The George in Christchurch
  • Delamore Lodge and Glass House on Waiheke Island
  • Kauri Cliffs at Matauri Bay in Northland.
Three tracks, all in the southern South Island, have also won international awards.
  • Milford Track
  • Routeburn Track
  • Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track

New project to better understand tourists' needs
Tourism Minister Mark Burton has recently announced a new project by which the New Zealand Tourism industry will gain new insights into visitor travel. Under the new project data will be collected in each region to measure visitors’ motivation for travel, expectations, satisfactions, itineraries and programmes. Previous research has not included statistics gathered regionally.

The project is a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism New Zealand and six participating regional tourism organisations (RTO’s) - Tourism Auckland, Destination Rotorua, Positively Wellington Tourism, Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing, Tourism Dunedin and Destination Queenstown.

"This project is the first of its kind between national and regional tourism organisations. It will provide valuable insights for the tourism industry into visitor satisfaction and travel motivations in our regions," Mark Burton said.

"Having this information will enable us to better develop strategies and policies based upon understanding our customer's preferences and requirements.

"By coordinating this project at a national level we are able to make sure the data collected is consistent across the regions. We believe this project will provide the RTOs and national organisations with valuable benchmarking data for analysis in coming years.

"The initial agreement between the partners is for three years and will start next month. Once the project is fully developed, we hope to extend it by involving other parties, including additional RTOs or other groups."

Strong outlook for tourism growth
Strong growth is predicted to continue in both overseas and domestic tourism markets, the latest six-year forecast predicts, with international visitor numbers expected to reach 3.21 million by 2011.

The Tourism Research Council New Zealand (TRCNZ) and the Ministry of Tourism forecast a 52.3 per cent increase in international spending to $9.6 billion (2004: $6.3b), and a 28.9 per cent domestic tourism spending increase to $9.3 billion (2004: $7.2b) from 2005 to 2011.

"The forecasts reinforce that the long term prospects for tourism remain excellent," said TRCNZ chairperson Lex Henry.

"For our largest industry to be growing at this sustained rate has important implications for New Zealand's overall economic performance.

"The provision of reliable and credible forecasts is critical to informing tourism sector decision-making, whether deciding on staffing levels for the coming summer season or for deciding on a major upgrade of water and sewerage facilities at a tourist destination," he said.

Total expenditure is forecast to increase by 39.8 per cent to $18.9 billion in 2011.

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