Middle-earth and cricket fans deliver massive month for tourism

Today's International Visitor Arrivals statistics for March, and the recent announcement of new Government funding for tourism, confirm a fantastic start to the year for the industry, says Tourism New Zealand's Chief Executive Kevin Bowler.

"For the first three months of 2013, we have seen several of our target markets in growth when compared against last year, topped off by March's 12.8% growth overall. 

"With strong arrivals seen from Australia, North America, the UK and Germany, Tourism New Zealand is confident its work to specifically target these markets is driving up preference for a New Zealand holiday, and motivating people to convert their interest into actual travel.

"Combined with the new funding confirmed for Tourism New Zealand, it has been a very encouraging start to the 2013 calendar year and we are extremely positive about the future for the industry.

"In March, we saw 15.8% growth out of the UK, helped by having the Barmy Army in town to watch the English cricket team. This reinforces the benefits that big sporting events offer New Zealand, and how important it is for us to maximise the value we can gain from hosting the Cricket World Cup and the FIFA U-21 Football World Cup in 2015.

"We also can't ignore the growth we are seeing out of North America (24.0% from the US and 10.5% from Canada for March) and the likely impact our 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand campaign to leverage offThe Hobbit Trilogy, is having on this. Not only are our visitor arrivals up but preference for a New Zealand holiday in the US market has shown a significant increase since December last year.  

"There are seasonal factors that contributed to this strong March and as a result, we expect April's figure to be weaker. Easter was earlier this year which will have supported the rise in Australia visitors in particular. 

"However, the consistent steady growth we are seeing out of the German market (16.1%) is really positive, as is the signs of recovery we are seeing out of Japan (17.2%).

"Germany is a core market for us and much less affected by things like Easter and sporting events. Here too we are seeing steady growth in both arrivals and preference for a New Zealand holiday."

Contact Deborah Gray, Communications Manager, Tourism New Zealand
deborahg@tnz.govt.nz; phone +64 21 624 170