Tourism, like most sectors, has had a tough 2009 (although Kevin Rudd's New Zealand ski season stimulus package certainly seemed to soften the blow).
With the world supposedly heading to hell in an economic handcart, it was inevitable that fewer international guests would grace our distant foreign shores. But, on the plus side, the choice to remain close to home led to the addition of an outstanding portmanteau to the tourism lexicon: staycation.
Tourism added $9.3 billion to the collective Kiwi coffers in the year to March, but that was $87 million less than the year previous, the first drop in 10 years.
But the announcement this week by John Key that an extra $20 million would be funneled into Tourism New Zealand's marketing department warmed the industry's cockles. It's thought the additional cash will bring in an extra 45,000 visitors and $125 million over the next year.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton says the additional investment would be primarily directed toward three markets: the US, China and UK/Europe (mainly on developing new, emerging markets) and on further joint venture work in Australia.
Additional funding in China will go towards stimulating more outbound travel to New Zealand from Shanghai’s large and growing middle class, as well as tapping into the Beijing market, with larger campaigns operating for longer.
Some of the additional investment will be put into a project to increase the US market, as well as new campaign work to help bolster the peak summer season for the industry.
“The additional funding will also allow Tourism New Zealand to continue marketing year-round in Australia and to look for further joint venture opportunities, particularly with Regional Tourism Organisation partners,” Hickton says.