What incredible news we recently received being named Lonely Planet’s 2nd Best Region in the World to visit in 2017! This accolade is testament to the collaborative work done by regional and central government authorities, local businesses and the community over many years to make Taranaki the place it is today.
This week, Statistics New Zealand published its annual Tourism Satellite Account for the tax year ended 31 March 2016. It reports that spending by international tourists in the year climbed to $14.5 billion, an increase of 19.6 percent from a year earlier. The number of short-term foreign visitors increased 10.4 percent over the same period. It’s estimated that over 188,000 people are directly employed in tourism, while tourists pay $2.8 billion in GST which, of course, helps to pay for schools and hospitals.
We all know the Taranaki region is an incredible place to live, and for those who visit for the first time they are often pleasantly surprised by what we have to offer, from world class attractions, stunning landscape, great hospitality, international events and of course, coastal Taranaki with its great surf breaks and Opunake Beach!
It is an exciting time for Taranaki, and we will ensure that Taranaki continues to build its great reputation around the world.
Just about every corner of New Zealand is reaping employment and income growth opportunities due to the success of the Government’s tourism strategy.
The strategy aims to better coordinate efforts to boost the economic contribution tourism plays in our regional economies, while helping them to prepare for the significant growth in foreign tourists expected in the decades ahead.
The National-led government is focused on attracting the right mix of visitors to our shores, ensuring they have high-quality experiences, and supporting regions to make the most of the rising number of guests.
We don’t just want investment in tourism hotspots. Nor do we want visitors arriving only in peak seasons. We want investment across all regions and to welcome visitors all year round.
That’s why Budget 2016 invested a further $45 million investment in tourism over four years, including to help communities with their infrastructure needs, and extra funding for Tourism New Zealand to target growth markets. This was in addition to the over $130 million National was already investing every year to facilitate tourism sector growth.
International tourists’ expenditure in New Zealand in the year to March was equivalent to almost 21 per cent of the value of New Zealand’s total exports of all goods and services – making tourism one of our biggest export earners. Together with increased tourism within the country by New Zealanders, international tourism is underpinning the retail, passenger transport, and hospitality sectors.
International tourism is a very large foreign exchange earner for New Zealand, helping propel our economy into the fourth fastest growing in the developed world, with rising household incomes, rising employment and falling unemployment.
It’s very much part of our future success. Sharing our world with others is a good thing when it creates jobs for good incomes for our people.