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NZ tourism gets $158mil boost

Over The Top Queenstown EDITED

New Zealand’s Tourism industry has been given a NZD$158 million boost in the 2013 budget.

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key this week released details of Budget initiatives for tourism, including NZD$44.5 million to attract visitors from emerging growth markets and NZD$24.5 million to boost tourism from existing markets.

As part of a larger internationally-focused growth package, the Government is investing an additional NZD$158 million in tourism through Budget 2013 to attract more visitors to New Zealand, particularly high-spending visitors.

“Attracting more tourists from growing markets such as India, Indonesia and Latin America is a key part of the Government’s strategy for tourism,” Key said.

“These countries have strong economic growth and increasing numbers of people who have the desire and ability to travel.

“Latin America is one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic regions in the world. Many Latin American countries have improving economies and growing trade links with New Zealand.

“Visitor numbers from India have been steadily growing, with almost 30,000 visitors in 2012. Indian tourists tend to visit from April to June, making them an important source of visitors during our autumn season.

“Indonesia is one of our closest neighbours and we saw a 7 per cent increase in the number of Indonesian visitors last year. It is the fourth most populous country in the world with an increasing number of outbound travellers.

“Travellers from these countries are looking for destinations to visit now, and we want New Zealand to be the first choice. Although tourist numbers are growing, we currently have a very small presence in these markets. Our additional investment of $44.5 million will enable us to attract them.

“At the same time, we cannot ignore our strong existing markets. Australia, the USA, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan are traditionally important, and tourism from China has grown exponentially over the past decade. Together these six countries make up almost three quarters of our visitors.

“We have allocated additional funding of NZD$24.5 million over four years to target high value visitors in these markets.

“This will include focusing on the recovery of the Japanese market and extending the Premier Kiwi Partnership programme, which works with Chinese agents to improve the quality of visitors’ holidays to New Zealand.”

As part of the NZD$158 million boost Key has also committed NZD$34 million for business events and NZD$20 million to attract very high-value visitors.

“Over the past decade, visitor numbers have been increasing but spend per visitor has fallen. As well as attract more visitors to New Zealand, we need to attract people who spend more. We will be targeting business travellers and high-spending luxury travellers,” Key said.

“We will spend NZD$34 million over four years to significantly expand our focus on international business events, including conferences, conventions and exhibitions. Conference and convention visitors are particularly valuable as they spend NZD$318 per day on average, compared to $208 for the average tourist.

“New convention centres in Christchurch and Queenstown, and the proposed New Zealand International Conference Centre in Auckland, will allow New Zealand to host more, and significantly larger conferences.

“The new funding of NZD$7 million per year will increase to NZD$10 million by 2015/16 to ensure conference organisers are made aware of this increased capacity.

“In addition to this, we will spend NZD$20 million over four years to target very high value visitors who spend far in excess of the average tourist. These visitors use luxury accommodation, private transport, bespoke activity providers and high-end tours.

“Investment in this very high-value niche will require a tailored marketing approach. The new funding will allow Tourism New Zealand to work with premium New Zealand tourism operators to ensure this niche is developed to its full potential,” Key said.

NZD$28 million over four years has also been allocated to co-fund business innovation and growth initiatives in the sector.

“We want to support innovative ideas and projects that will create new opportunities and overcome barriers to growth in the tourism sector,” Key said.

“We will be working with tourism businesses and the Tourism Industry Association and other groups to achieve this.

“To that end, we will partner with the sector to offer a co-funding model to be called The Tourism Growth Partnership, with the Government contributing up to 50% to each initiative.

“This investment will help us capture the benefits from growing the value and number of visitors, while creating new jobs, higher growth and increased export earnings.

“We expect this fund will enable the tourism sector to respond to new market opportunities.”

The new funding will absorb and significantly expand the Tourism Strategy Implementation Fund, which is currently NZD$1.22 million per year.

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