MALAYSIA, 22 November 2016 – New Zealand’s tourism industry has become the country’s top export earner, contributing $14.5 billion into the economy and directly employing over 188,000 people for the year ending March 2016.
Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South and South East Asia at Tourism New Zealand, says, “Tourism benefits all New Zealanders and the level of growth we are achieving is presenting huge opportunities that are ripe for the picking.
“The impact of tourism spend is far ranging, benefiting retail owners, supermarkets, petrol stations, restaurants and cafes in addition to accommodation and travel spend. One in 13 New Zealanders are now directly employed in the tourism industry and this will increase as visitor numbers continue to grow.”
Recent statistics show that more than 3.38 million international visitors visited New Zealand in the year ending September 2016. More than 885,000 visitors were from Asia, with visitors from Malaysia accounting for 44,928 of the total figure – an increase of 35.4 per cent from September 2015.
According to Tourism New Zealand, the number of overseas visitors to New Zealand will double in seven years at the current rate of growth.
On the increasing number of international visitors, Mr Dixon adds that New Zealand is seeing the highest level of international tourism expenditure on record and the figure is set to increase.
“Extremely successful Middle earth campaigns and a deep focus on digital media helped drive significant growth in visitor numbers,” he said.
“Over the last year, we have been really focused on attracting visitors in the shoulder seasons to spread visitor numbers more evenly across the entire year.
“We invested 100% of our marketing dollars into travel outside peak periods and as a result, the combined percentage growth for autumn 2015 and spring 2016 was considerably higher than the summer growth.”
In line with the growth of tourism in the country, Lonely Planet has also ranked Taranaki in the world’s top 10 regions to visit next year in its recently published travel yearbook Best in Travel 2017. The ranking comes ahead of internationally renowned areas such as the Azores in Portugal, North Wales in the United Kingdom and South Australia.
Located in New Zealand’s North Island, Taranaki sits halfway between the main centres of Auckland and Wellington, and is less than an hour’s flight, or four and a half hour drive from either city.
According to Mr Dixon, the new ranking shows how there is definitely a lot more to Taranaki than first meets the eye.
“Only in Taranaki can you go from surfing to skiing – all in the same day. Travellers can also opt for a more relaxing experience. The region’s vibrant arts and culture scene means that there are art trails, festivals and award-winning museums and galleries to visit, as well as a thriving café culture.
“Also not forgetting the majestic Mt Taranaki in Egmont National Park, where hikers of all skill levels can enjoy a scenic climb to the summit,” said Mr Dixon.