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Tourism Industry Proves Its Value Through Tough Economic Period

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tourism Industry Proves Its Value Through Tough Economic Period

Tourism has proved its value through tough economic times, earning more foreign exchange than any other export sector in the year ended March 2010.

The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says new government figures released today show that tourism has outstripped the dairy sector as New Zealand's top export industry.

"This is a fantastic result, especially given the strength of the New Zealand dollar against some of our key markets like the USA and UK. Together with the global financial crisis, this period covered some of the most difficult trading conditions TIA members have experienced," TIA Policy and Research Manager Simon Wallace says.

The Tourism Satellite Account shows that tourism is now adding $61 million every day to New Zealand's economy, with international visitors spending $26 million each day. The figures also highlight the importance of domestic travel, with New Zealanders spending $35 million a day.

"The visitor industry supports businesses in every region of the country and not only businesses directly linked to tourism like accommodation, transport and activity providers. Travellers also spend in supermarkets, petrol stations and dairies, restaurants and bars," Mr Wallace says.

The expenditure increase has occurred despite a 1.6% fall in full-time equivalent staff, showing that tourism businesses have increased their productivity even though the economic downturn cut employment levels, he points out.

The figures also highlight the importance of Australia, New Zealand's number one tourism market, in supporting the tourism industry through the downturn. For the year ended March 2010, Australian visitor arrivals were up 14.5%, boosting total visitor expenditure.

"Our challenge now is to grow other key and emerging markets in Asia, North America and Europe. TIA will continue to work with government and industry to find ways to encourage visitors to make the trip to New Zealand," Mr Wallace says.

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