International visitor arrivals figures out today have confirmed that it has been a slow start to the peak season for the New Zealand tourism industry.
Statistics New Zealand figures for the month of November show visitor arrivals were up just 0.3 per cent compared with the same month last year, to 219,939 arrivals.
Tourism New Zealand Acting Chief Executive Tim Hunter says the figures indicate that New Zealand ’s long-haul markets are still feeling the pinch of the global recession.
“It’s been a tough year for tourism globally, so the fact that we’ve ended 2009 down just 0.6 per cent shows how hard the New Zealand tourism industry has worked to drive visitor numbers in a difficult environment,” says Tim Hunter.
Australia continues to be New Zealand ’s ‘banker market’, with 7,300 more visitors crossing the Tasman to New Zealand last month compared with November 2008 (up 9.5 per cent).
“The economic situation remains fragile in key markets including the US and UK , and we can expect to see this reflected in visitor numbers in the short term. The general feeling is that arrivals will be subdued for the first part of the peak season, but we expect to see an improving trend in some long-haul markets in the first quarter of 2010.”