New Zealand is enjoying its best summer season for overseas tourist arrivals for many years with a greater focus on long-haul visitors.
Paul Carberry, New Zealand travel expert from UK based New Zealand In Depth said; “New Zealand has always been a favourite long haul destination for Brits with real signs of overall growth in the number of visitors - and all the signs point to this continuing.”
“The best thing about this growth is that it has been supported by such a wide range of events and factors promoting the country with the Cricket World Cup and the hobbit films both having a part to play,” adds Carberry. “The industry as a whole has also worked hard to develop the ‘tourism product’ with new air routes; a new safety regime for adventure tourism; as well as developing a world class luxury tourism sector that is drawing the top end traveller to the country.”
Latest figures show an overall increase of 5 per cent in international arrivals for the past year to 2.83 million. Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts said that almost without exception his members were experiencing “an outstanding” season. “The forward bookings are looking very strong - we’re going to have a record summer and that momentum will increase with the Cricket World Cup starting in February.
“We’re going to have some capacity constraints which we haven’t seen in New Zealand for a long time. Auckland on certain weekends this summer and Queenstown during Chinese New Year will be full.”
Roberts added that “one potential handbrake” on New Zealand’s biggest international market, Australia, was the weakness of their dollar. However Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler - whose government-funded organisation markets this country overseas - is more optimistic about demand out of Australia. He said the Aussie dollar was also falling against other currencies further away and New Zealand could pick up market share from long-haul destinations such as the UK.
Overall figures just released show that New Zealand guest nights rose for five consecutive months up to the end of November 2014.
Seasonally adjusted national guest nights rose 0.9 percent to 2.95 million in November from the previous month, accelerating from October’s 0.6 percent gain, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Statistics NZ added that Northland was the biggest gainer, rising 15 percent to 133,00 stays, while Auckland remained the most popular destination, rising 4.1 percent in November from a year earlier, to 641,000 guest nights.