The latest international visitor arrival figures released by Statistics New Zealand show that there were 250,554 international tourists in January 2006, an increase of 0.2%.
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton says the increase reflects the booking patterns over summer.
"Many of the wholesalers we were speaking to late last year had reported that their booking levels were quite healthy for the early part of 2006.
A move in Chinese New Year from February to January has helped buoy numbers with an increase in many of the Asian markets.
More Australians have visited New Zealand this January than ever before and Mr Hickton says the Australian travel trade is also confident that the growth will continue through to late summer.
"Australia is a market that we are putting a lot of additional effort into right now. Although it is already New Zealand’s largest market, Australia holds a lot of potential for New Zealand tourism."
"At the moment we get 875,739 visitors from Australia - but 941,000 New Zealanders headed over to Australia last year. We would like to redress that balance by getting more Aussies to come in this direction."
Tourism New Zealand is starting this process with a spring-focussed campaign underway at the moment taking part in the series of Good Food and Wine shows being held in Sydney and Melbourne- showcasing New Zealand’s culinary offerings.
"We believe that New Zealand is increasingly perceived as almost a domestic destination for Australians. So it is easy for them to think about coming here. However there is still some way to go with updating the perceptions of what we have to offer. Many Australians are still surprised at the level of sophistication New Zealand now offers and the quality of our food and wine.."
"This is part of a broader campaign that will take the form of advertising in glossy high-end magazines, television and cinema advertising in the first half of this year," he says." It will be supported by hosting Australian media and travel trade in New Zealand to update them on new developments."
International visitor arrivals to New Zealand for month of January 2006
- Australia 75,270
- USA 23,478
- UK 42,432
- Japan 15,132
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