Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Queenstown leads tourism recovery

International visitor arrivals have reached the highest level since New Zealand’s borders were closed in March 2020, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced today.

For the first time since March 2020, the number of overseas visitor arrivals exceeded 100,000 – with 134,200 visitors in July – according to new data from Stats NZ.

Minister Nash welcomed the news as a strong sign that the tourism sector is bouncing back.

“On World Tourism Day, I am happy to report that for the first month since March 2020 the number of overseas visitor arrivals exceeded 100,000 in July – with over 134,200 overseas visitor arriving,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to have roared past the 100,000 mark for arrivals in July, the first time this has happened since COVID closed our borders in March 2020. This data shows that the tourism recovery is well underway.

“We know tourism operators have had it tough, but these figures present a light at the end of a long tunnel. The 134,200 overseas visitors that arrived to our shores in July 2022 is nearly double the international arrivals from the month prior. What’s also encouraging to see is the growth in total Airline Capacity, which is estimated to reach nearly three quarters of 2019 levels by the end of the year.”

The Minister said North American airline capacity is forecasted to return closest to 2019 levels by November, boosted by increased frequency of flights, the return of flight paths, and the opening of new routes, such as Air New Zealand’s Auckland-New York flight.

“The USA represents our third largest tourism market, so increased flight capacity will have a huge impact on our tourism recovery going forward,” he said.

Queenstown continues to lead the tourism recovery, buoyed by a strong ski season, with winter arrivals this year reaching at least 90% of the same period in 2019.

“This is a fantastic result, and I’m pleased that the Government has been able to provide $63.3 million, on top of the Wage Subsidy and Resurgence support payment, to support tourism in the Queenstown region.”

“Our Government has supported the tourism sector throughout the pandemic, working with the industry to respond to the challenges of the past two years. This includes the $400m Tourism Recovery Package, the $200m Tourism Communities Plan, and the $54m Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery. This support went to tourism operators most affected by the border closure, and has helped them to gear up for the return of international visitors,” Mr Nash said.

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