Travel and tourism confirmed as the nation’s top export
Rich in natural beauty and also spurred on by the success of films such as The Lord of the Rings, it’s not surprising to see why tourism has been confirmed as the country’s top export earner.
According to official reports, New Zealand’s tourism industry contributed $14.5 billion into the nation’s economy and directly employing over 188,000 people for the year ending March 2016.
Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South and South East Asia at Tourism New Zealand, says, “Tourism benefits all New Zealanders and the level of growth we are achieving is presenting huge opportunities that are ripe for the picking.
Recent statistics show that more than 3.38 million international visitors visited New Zealand in the year ending September 2016. More than 885,000 visitors were from Asia, with visitors from Malaysia accounting for 44,928 of the total figure – an increase of 35.4 per cent from September 2015.
“Extremely successful Middle earth campaigns and a deep focus on digital media helped drive significant growth in visitor numbers,” he said. “Over the last year, we have been really focused on attracting visitors in the shoulder seasons to spread visitor numbers more evenly across the entire year.
In line with the growth of tourism in the country, Lonely Planet has also ranked Taranaki in the world’s top 10 regions to visit next year in its recently published travel yearbook Best in Travel 2017. The ranking comes ahead of internationally renowned areas such as the Azores in Portugal, North Wales in the United Kingdom and South Australia.
Located in New Zealand’s North Island, Taranaki sits halfway between the main centres of Auckland and Wellington, and is less than an hour’s flight, or four and a half hour drive from either city. Taranaki is one of the few places that allows visitors to go from surfing to skiing – all in the same day. The region also boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene with award-winning museums and galleries to visit, as well as a thriving café culture.
The majestic Mt Taranaki in Egmont National Park is also a popular spot for hikers of all skill levels.