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Spreading visitors biggest tourism problem

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/05/2016

The biggest challenge facing the tourism industry is ensuring all the country's regions reap the benefits of the huge visitor influx the country's experiencing, according to Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett.

Speaking to NZ Newswire as she arrived at TRENZ 2016 in Rotorua, the country's annual visitor industry showcase, Ms Bennett said a major issue will be meeting the demand by overseas visitors to see not only the country's two tourism jewels Rotorua and Queenstown, but provide them with a nationwide New Zealand experience.

With 250,000 more international visitors in the past 12 months and 50 new air links in the past four years with more on the horizon, she said it was a question of watch this space relating to providing increased facilities and infrastructure to cater for the influx.

The minister said she didn't have a problem with overseas investors providing finance for the accommodation sector.

"The reality is some of these projects require hundreds of millions of dollars and if that comes form off-shore that's a plus for us," she said.

Outlining projected visitor trends between 2016 and 2022 Michael Bird of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Development said visitor numbers continued to skyrocket with lower oil prices and a favourable exchange rates major contributors to the growth.

He projected that by next year China will outpace Australia as the country's major marketplace.

"The reason why we expect China to cut across Australia's number is because Australians tend to spend less and visitors from China are staying longer," he said.

A new trend was the number of Chinese travelling independently and visiting more regions.

While US visitor numbers are also on the up, India and Indonesia had become emerging markets with those from those countries tending to visit in the off-peak season.

He forecast that the country would be hosting 4.5 million international visitors by 2022 bringing with them a total spend of $16 billion.

Tourism now outstrips dairying as the country's major foreign exchange earner.

A record 365 travel and tourism buyers from 28 countries, along with more than 300 New Zealand tourism operators are at TRENZ with a significant number of buyers and operators on a waiting list when it opened on Tuesday.

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