Feeling the visitor lovin’

New Zealand is well and truly bathing in the light of tourism goodness at the moment. First comes news that December saw the largest influx of international visitor into the country since records began, then comes the announcement at the Wanderlust Travel Awards that Enzed’s been named the third Top Country.

The Wanderlust Travel Awards are based on visitor travels from December 2009 to November 2010. And so impressed were visitors with New Zealand, they gave it a satisfaction score of 96.13 percent.

With Namibia taking out the prestigious number one spot (96.94 percent), followed by Costa Rica (96.92 percent), New Zealand’s third placing was a repeat performance after it came third at the same awards last year.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says the award helps reinforce the value of a New Zealand holiday in the UK market, where Wanderlust’s readership is based.

“Wanderlust has a circulation of more than 30,000 and our top three finish will stand us in good stead for UK travellers considering where they want to go on their next overseas holiday.”

The award came just as Tourism New Zealand announced international arrivals were there highest ever in December 2010, up 1.3 percent to 345,656, narrowly beating out the previous record of 341,337 set in December 2009. That growth has been largely attributed to the Chinese and Australian markets with an increase in arrivals of 3.0 percent (4,471 people) from Australia and 21.3 percent (2,490 people) from China. And Bowler is predicting more of the same number goodness.

“We anticipate further growth in the coming year, thanks to new air routes linking Asia to New Zealand, combined with an increase in Tourism New Zealand marketing featuring our New Zealand 100% Pure You marketing message and joint-venture work with our airline and travel partners,” says Bowler.

But while the Chinese and Australian markets bode well, numbers from the UK and US were down in December 9.1 percent (3,595) and 8.3 percent (2,193) respectively. Bowler puts this decrease down to the economic recovery in North America and Europe and also points to the impact the cold UK December had on airport closures.

“Despite these challenges we remain hopeful that with an improvement in the US economy and some targeted marketing we will see it turnaround this year, while we anticipate UK visitor figures will be boosted by Rugby World Cup 2011.”

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