Cruise ship visitors buoy NZ’s int’l arrival numbers

AUCKLAND – A huge boost in cruise ship visitors has buoyed arrival numbers in the beginning of the New Year. Figures from Statistics New Zealand showed that in January 2008 there were over 253,500 visitors to the country, a 2.7 percent on the same time in 2007. A large part of the increase came from the US which recorded an almost 15 percent increase over January 2007 and reflected the large number of American visitors cruising New Zealand waters. But Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton warned a tougher global economic situation was starting to bite into the New Zealand tourism industry. "More economic constraints mean that some sectors of our market are likely to travel less while competition from other destinations and the lure of flights offered by low cost airlines are tempting visitors to other destinations." This is already being reflected in some markets like Japan which was down 17.3 percent to 10,120 compared to January last year and the UK which dropped 7.2 percent to 42,400 visitors from the same time last year.

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