Tourism sector set to recover from slowdown

Tourism is set to recover from its current slowdown because of the continuing strength of Australia and a growing Chinese market, according to new forecasts released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

New Zealand's tourism sector outlook "Forecasts for 2012-2018" predicts international visitor spending will grow 9% by December 2018, recovering from a sharp slowdown brought on by the global financial crisis. Visitor numbers are expected to rise 28% in the same period.

Acting general manager Adrienne Meikle said in a statement the forecasts pointed to a significant structural shift in New Zealand's tourism industry.

"Traditional markets like the United Kingdom and United States will continue to decline in the absence of any active market intervention, but this will be offset by strong growth from China and Australia.

"New Zealand will face continuing challenges as a destination for traditional markets, due to the global financial crisis and emergence of low-cost European airlines.

"The forecasts provide encouragement for New Zealand's tourism industry to do more to attract and cater for visitors from our Asia-Pacific neighbours."

The forecasts predict the average spend per day will remain steady, but the length of stay will trend downwards because of shorter trips from Australian and Asian visitors.