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Tourism in New Zealand on the up and up

Vicky Karantzavelou - 16 November 2017, 00:06

New Zealand is leading world tourism trends with record international visitor arrivals.

According to its recently released Annual Report for 2016/17, New Zealand saw total visitor arrival numbers increase by 10% to 3.6 million last year, and holiday arrivals increase by 12% (1.9 million). This puts us ahead of global tourism trends, which show international visitor arrivals grew by 3.9% for the 2016 calendar year and 6% in January-June 2017 (UNWTO World Tourism Barometer).

It was a year of dramatic change for Tourism New Zealand with an expanded presence in South America and the Philippines, leadership changes, challenges associated with the Kaikoura earthquake, the establishment of a significant partnership with the Department of Conservation to enhance the visitor experience on the DOC estate, 2017 DHL New Zealand British and Irish Lions Series promotions, and changes around the organisation’s strategic marketing focus.

In their Annual Report foreword, Tourism New Zealand chair Kerry Prendergast, and chief executive Stephen England-Hall said: “One of our key objectives for FY17 was to continue our work in shifting the seasonal profile of arrivals by investing all marketing funds into promoting New Zealand holidays in the shoulder and off-peak seasons. We are thrilled to see this working with a combined 13.1% increase in spring 2016 and autumn 2017 arrivals against peak summer growth of 8.3%.”

Among its activities in FY17, Tourism New Zealand launched several programmes focused on increasing international visits to regions less visited. This included a campaign targeted towards the China market focused on Wellington, Tasman, Marlborough, and Nelson, which was well-received by key operators who reported an uplift in Chinese visitors over the campaign period.

Tourism New Zealand continued its successful commercial partnerships with Google and Facebook, various airlines, and travel agencies, and influential celebrities to promote New Zealand to different audience groups.

We began the year launching a new 100% Pure New Zealand campaign with Hollywood director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis Cameron sharing their personal stories and insights while exploring some of our most beautiful places. Australian supermodel and actress Megan Gale continued as our ambassador promoting spring and autumn holidays to Australian cyclists, and Pete’s Dragon lead actress Bryce Dallas Howard has now joined Tourism New Zealand as an ambassador,” said Mr England-Hall.

The leading source markets for visitors to New Zealand remained Australia (with 1.4 million visitors, up 6.2%), China (up 0.3%), the US (up 26.4%), UK (up 14.3%), Germany (up 14.6%), and Japan (up 7.3%).

Top line results:

  • $10.25 billion contributed to the New Zealand economy by international visitors
  • 3.6 million visitors to New Zealand
  • 41 million visits to newzealand.com
  • $3,800 spent on average by each visitor to New Zealand
  • 6.3 million referrals to tourism businesses from newzealand.com
  • 2.64 million followers on Facebook
  • $227.2 million equivalent advertising value of print, online, and broadcast in Tourism New Zealand media
  • 85 bids supported through the Conference Assistance Programme (estimated value of $164 million)
  • 53,000 Australian and British visitors during the British and Irish Lions Rugby Tour
  • 6000 people surveyed for our partnership with the Department of Conservation (launching in FY18)
  • 396 international media outlets hosted by Tourism New Zealand in 180 visits


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