Key message: Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is the shop front for one of New Zealand‘s most significant export earners – inbound tourism – and is committed to doing its utmost to facilitate and increase tourism, which is second only to the dairy industry as our country’s top export earner.
Tourism contributes 8.6 percent to New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) as well as directly and indirectly employing nearly one in 10 people in the New Zealand workforce.
International tourism expenditure contributed $9.7 billion to the New Zealand economy in the year to 31 March 2011, an increase of 1.5 percent, or $147 million, over the previous year. This accounts for nearly 17 percent of New Zealand’s total export earnings.
Domestic tourism expenditure rose to $13.2 billion, a 2.5 percent increase on the previous year.Tourism generated $1.7 billion in GST revenue and adds $63 million a day to the New Zealand economy.
International visitor arrivals in the year to March 2011 totalled just over 2.5 million, continuing the long-term growth trend of the sector. Numbers for 2011/12 have been boosted by the more than 130,000 international visitors who indicated they had come to New Zealand specifically for the Rugby World Cup.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment forecasts the next milestone of 3 million visitors per year will be reached in 2015. By 2016, arrivals will likely have grown by 27 percent on current numbers, which will equate to an additional 669,000 international visitors each year.
INZ works in partnership with the tourism industry to ensure that immigration is aligned with attracting and facilitating high value independent travellers to benefit New Zealand’s economy, without underplaying the need for all foreign nationals to be bona fide visitors and to meet immigration health, character and other requirements. This partnership includes quarterly meetings with the tourism sector at both an operational and strategic level, to provide strong engagement on day-to-day issues and to address the future issues and positioning of the sector.
We have a comprehensive programme of projects to lift our performance and transform the way we deliver our services to priority business areas such as tourism.
China has been a key focus in recent times. We have significantly enhanced our processing capacity and established a new and larger office in Shanghai to reflect the 25 percent increase in visitors from China in recent years – 131,000 in the 2010/11 financial year, compared with 104,000 in each of the two previous years.
Growth in our China tourism market, driven by a burgeoning Chinese economy, has seen China Southern Airlines begin regular flights direct to New Zealand from Guangzhou, after Air New Zealand’s earlier introduction of direct flights from Beijing/Shanghai. This has driven an immediate increase in tourist numbers to New Zealand and 2012 is set to be a year of continued growth, with 93,000 Chinese having been granted visitor visas in the first six and a half months.
Since 2010 INZ has also established an office in Mumbai to deal with increased application volumes from the Indian market. Capacity in Pretoria and Ho Chi Minh City has also been increased, reflecting immigration demand from these countries. We monitor business levels at our other offices worldwide to ensure they are able to meet needs across the diverse categories of immigration.
In all its work, INZ will do its bit to help tourism remain alongside the dairy industry as New Zealand’s top overseas income earners.