Annual arrivals increased by 5.4 per cent year-on-year with a total of 2.64 million visitors. These arrivals in turn generated a total of 50.9 million stay-days, an increase of 1.4 per cent for the year.
Over the past year the markets that Tourism New Zealand has identified as offering the greatest potential for value and growth have continued to perform well. Australia, which accounts for 45 per cent of total arrivals, increased 5.8 per cent for the year ending June, while China was up a staggering 33.3 per cent for the same period.
This is not as a result of coincidence or good luck.
Considering the combination of natural disasters and economic challenges we've been battling over the last few years, these numbers are as a result of clearly targeted marketing efforts, of working in partnership and of leveraging the opportunities we have before us. They also clearly demonstrate the resilience of the sector.
There is no avoiding the impact of the global financial crisis on the USA and European markets and the massive effect that is having on travel patterns globally. However, I am confident we have the right strategic approach to market New Zealand as an international visitor destination - and we are on track to continue to deliver value to the industry and the wider economy.
First and foremost is because we have a well recognised and established campaign platform in 100% Pure New Zealand. Some 13 years after its launch, 100% Pure New Zealand is perhaps the world's most well-respected tourism campaign. It continues to be central to our marketing activity and is used in all of our international marketing work across advertising, events, international Public Relations and online marketing.
While our marketing methods continue to evolve, our core message remains consistent making it the key contributor to the success of New Zealand being one of the most enduring and desirable destinations in the world.
And it delivers. We know from our Active Considerer Monitor and annual Visitor Experience Monitor (VEM) research that people continue to respond well to the campaign - our messaging and activity is effective at telling the story of destination New Zealand and at compelling people to travel. We also know that the experience travellers have once here not only meets the expectations built by 100% Pure New Zealand, but often exceed them. Overall visitor satisfaction sits at 8.9 out of 10.
Our marketing of New Zealand as an international visitor destination is strategically focused on those potential travellers who are already actively considering New Zealand as a destination - all our efforts go into converting the "likely" traveller into an "actual" booking.
Through specific research in each target market, we know a great deal about this audience. As a result we tailor each and every marketing message to their interests and priorities.
However, as every good business person knows, demand is just one half of the equation. Without supply - be it inbound air capacity, quality product or a range of unique experiences, opportunities will go unrealised.
A lot has been said recently about the benefits to be gained by working in partnership - a sentiment that I subscribe to wholeheartedly. Our marketing reach and effectiveness improves some three-to-five times when we work with others, rather than going at it alone. In the past year we have attracted $25M worth of third party funding to help us promote New Zealand.
As we enter a new financial year, many of the challenges remain but there are also new opportunities. By maximising the strengths we have in our 100% Pure New Zealand campaign, and our ability to work together, I am confident that the industry will continue to capture growth in visitor value.
Find information about TNZ's key target markets or to read latest tourism news see here.