The New Zealand tourism industry expects visitor
arrivals to be down around 10% in 2009 when compared with 2008.
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George
Hickton said Australia presents New Zealand’s best opportunity for
growth as other key source markets suffer the fall-out of the
"Australia will be a crucial market for us in
2009. With job losses and the weakening dollar, Australians are
likely to favour short-haul holidays. New Zealand is still popular
and good-value-for-money" he said.
"We also have good capacity on the Tasman route
and are likely to see trans-Tasman airfares trending down as
airlines try to fill seats."
Tourism New Zealand has brought forward spending
in the Australian market to help boost visitor arrivals over the
summer and autumn seasons. It is also focused on maintaining a
high profile in other key source markets including the US, UK and
Tourism Industry Association Chief Executive Tim
Cossar said the impacts of a downturn in visitor numbers will be
felt differently across sectors and regions.
"Forward bookings beyond March are weak.
International travellers are reducing their booking times and the
forward booking data is considerably lower compared with previous
years," he said.
"Operators and regions with more exposure to
long-haul holiday markets like the UK, US and Asia will be most
affected. Australia and the domestic tourism market will be
critical in buffering the industry from lower international
George Hickton said he believes things will
become tougher for the industry beyond April, but with a new US
campaign due to launch in February and fresh campaign activity in
China, the UK and Australia, the hope is that New Zealand will
emerge from the crisis in a stronger position than when it came
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