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Successes for the tourism industry and government support

News from the Ministry of Tourism - 09/10/08

Despite the gloomy financial outlook internationally, awards and government support have given the New Zealand tourism industry reason for optimism.

New Zealand voted number one destination by travellers in the UK

On 2 September 2008 Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor announced that for the fifth year in a row New Zealand has been ranked in the top five favourite countries in the world by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller.

This is a glossy lifestyle publication with an emphasis on luxury travel. It has a circulation of 85,000, with 91 percent of readers holidaying three or more times a year.

Mr O'Connor said the win shows that the New Zealand tourism industry is delivering a high-quality experience to visitors.

"New Zealand tourism operators should be justifiably proud. These awards recognise how satisfied our visitors are with the experiences they have here.

"With Tourism New Zealand's latest $7.3 million campaign due to launch in the United Kingdom, this is timely recognition that New Zealand continues to exceed the expectations of visitors from our second largest market.

"Our ability to continue to compete with other countries will depend on delivering a better product than our competitors, ensuring we are environmentally, economically, socially and culturally sustainable," said Mr O'Connor.

New Zealand, with a total satisfaction score of 95.11 percent, was also listed third overall in the 'Top 100' section of the awards which includes cities, airports, hotels, cruise lines and other sectors within the tourism industry.

Among other New Zealand companies to be recognised in the awards were Auckland Airport (sixth favourite airport worldwide), Air New Zealand (sixth favourite airline worldwide) and Huka Lodge (eighth favourite leisure hotel - Australasia and South Pacific).

International visitors continue to spend more in NZ

International visitors continue to spend more during their trips to New Zealand according to new data released on 17 September 2008, said Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor.

The Ministry of Tourism's International Visitor Survey shows international visitor spend increased by almost five percent in the year to June 2008, up to $6.2 billion.

Mr O'Connor said this was excellent news not only for the tourism sector but for the New Zealand economy in general.

"We may be a long haul destination, but our successful, world famous 100% Pure New Zealand brand continues to draw more international visitors across the world to experience what we have to offer, and it's great to hear they are spending more.

"There are a number of challenges for the industry at present with rising fuel prices and a fluctuating exchange rate. This new data proves New Zealand continues to be attractive to international visitors and that the industry continues to earn real wealth for our economy," said Mr O'Connor.

Key markets where spending increased include: Australia – up 16.5 percent to $1.7 billion, the United Kingdom – up 13.7 percent to $1 billion, Japan – up 10.6 percent to $426 million, Korea – up 6.5 percent to $256 million and Singapore – up 6.4 percent to $62 million.

Decreases in spend were recorded in the US, Chinese, Taiwanese, German and Canadian markets.

"The New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 highlights the need to deliver a world class visitor experience and ensure prosperity by attracting ongoing investment.

We certainly have the means to compete with other shorter haul destinations and we need to build on our strengths, ensuring we are seen as a desirable, high quality destination and that we meet the expectations of each and every visitor who comes here.

"Thousands of companies and individuals provide a vast range of products and experiences to our visitors on a daily basis and it's the work that is done on the ground, face to face with visitors that provides us with our excellent reputation worldwide. I congratulate the tourism industry on its huge efforts," said Mr O'Connor.

To view the survey go to:

Australian travel show votes New Zealand Country of the Year 2008

New Zealand was voted Country of the Year 2008 in a popular Australian travel show recently, adding to a number of awards received over the past year, Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor announced on 29 September 2008.

The travel show Getaway recognised New Zealand for its diversity as a holiday destination, as well as its breathtaking scenery, abundant culture, gourmet food and wine and its endless choice of unique experiences.

Mr O'Connor said "It's great that our international visitors are recognising the diversity and uniqueness of New Zealand as a tourism destination. This award shows that our tourism industry is delivering a high-quality experience to visitors."

The award comes after a number of international tourism awards New Zealand has won recently including Best Holiday Destination Worldwide by readers of the British Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Minister calls for applications from potential tourism scholars

Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor today called for students with an interest in tourism to apply for $15,000 Tourism Research Scholarships.

Applications for the Ministry of Tourism's programme opened on 3 October 2008. It offers $15,000 to students undertaking a Masters research thesis on a tourism-related topic in the 2009 study year.

Mr O'Connor said the scholarships are designed to build research capacity in tourism, increase research applicable to the tourism industry and create stronger links between researchers, industry and the public sector.

"The aim of the scholarships is to encourage a research culture in New Zealand tourism, particularly research that is applicable and accessible to the tourism industry.

"Projects will cover exciting areas and will help tourism in New Zealand develop in a sustainable way. The research is vital for New Zealand tourism to keep ahead of the pack," said Mr O'Connor.

This year's scholarships are taking a slightly different approach with the Ministry of Tourism outlining topics of interest, which are of current importance to the industry. Preference will be given to applicants who address these topics.

The topics are:

  • Qualmark as a business tool
  • The use of Maori culture in tourism
  • Differential pricing of tourism products for international and domestic tourists
  • Domestic tourism
  • Business advantages of sustainability programmes
  • Climate change and regional tourism adaptation
  • i-SITE Visitor Centres and online booking
  • Statistical analysis using the Ministry of Tourism's core tourism dataset

Applications for the 2009 Tourism Research Scholarships close at 5pm on Friday, 21 November 2008. For more information go to

Government commits funding to sustainable tourism

The government is committing an extra $2.83 million over the next year for the implementation of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015, Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor announced on 4 August 2008.

Opening the Tourism Industry Conference in Christchurch today, Mr O'Connor said the implementation plan for the Strategy identifies four top priority areas: the environment, offshore marketing, tourism research and workforce issues.

The new funding comes on top of money committed through the existing Tourism Strategy Implementation Fund which allocates $1.6 million to implement the Strategy each year.

"The New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 is a joint government-tourism sector strategy that sets out the vision, priorities, actions and targets for New Zealand tourism over the next seven years. This new plan is endorsed by Cabinet and by stakeholders in the industry, confirming the roles of public and private sector agencies in the implementation of the Strategy," said Mr O'Connor.

The money will contribute to tourism workforce initiatives, advancing sector research, building Maori tourism capability, and environmental initiatives including the promotion of new Qualmark Green criteria to international and domestic visitors.

"Tourism's future depends upon sustainability and delivering greater value from each and every visitor to this country. The industry is one of the most significant contributors to the New Zealand economy. Its sheer size and its potential to help transform our economy into one which is more sustainable and of higher value means it is a priority sector for government attention.

"This new plan gives direction for the public and private sector in implementing the goals of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy and it highlights the government's commitment to our vital tourism industry. I look forward to seeing its goals and priorities actioned," said Mr O'Connor.

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