TRAVEL GAZETTE – Tourism has overtaken the dairy industry to become New Zealand’s top export earner, the main tourism industry organization has said.
Government data indicated the value of international tourism had reached 13.5 billion NZ dollars (9.19 billion U.S. dollars) in the year to the end of September, compared with 13 billion NZ dollars (8.86 billion U.S. dollars) for dairy, according to the Tourism Industry Association (TIA).
“Tourism was number one from the late 1990s until 2010. Dairy then had its boom, but is now experiencing a pullback,” TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts said in a statement.
“The current upswing began in early 2013 and since then tourism export earnings have grown by over 40 percent.”
Tourism was currently making the largest contribution to the government’s goal of increasing the value of total exports to 40 percent of gross domestic product.
“We have every reason to expect the upward trajectory to continue through 2016, particularly given the multitude of new air services being introduced, the lower New Zealand dollar, relatively cheap fuel prices and strong marketing campaigns,” said Roberts.
The government’s Tourism New Zealand agency said it was expecting a record southern summer season on the back of record numbers of Chinese visitors.
Visitor arrivals were up 11 percent year on year in November to 300,500, with the biggest increase from China — up 35 percent to 36,700.
Visitors arriving from China were the highest-ever for a November month, twice as high as November 2013.