Within hours of being named Favourite Country at the UK Telegraph readers’ Travel Awards, New Zealand has the audacity to complain that its not getting the right sort of tourists and the ones they do get are being cheapskates.
Although visitor numbers were up last year their spend went down.
John Key, Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, says he wants richer tourists and wants them to spend more (!).
Reading between the lines it looks like New Zealand is attracting more of the budget backpacker and student market, and less of the high rollers with fat wallets.
From the NZ Herald:
New Zealand needs tourists who spend more money, rather than just more people through the airport gates, Prime Minister John Key says.
A new report on the industry shows despite more visitors coming to New Zealand, they’re staying for fewer days and spending less money. That’s partly because a large proportion of the growth in visitor numbers had been an increase in low-spending Australians.
Mr Key said the Government intended to spend half a billion dollars in the next four years on tourism promotion, including an additional $158 million announced in this year’s Budget.
Spending would be focused on key areas, including new markets and high net-worth individuals.
“Essentially see if we can lift the number of people coming and the quality of tourist that comes to New Zealand,” Mr Key said.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is make sure we don’t just get more people coming through the airport and coming to New Zealand for a couple of days …the reality is we want them to come here, spend money, and have a quality experience…”
Mr Key would do well to remember its those low spending, low quality tourists that win New Zealand those first-place-tourism-destination accolades.
Or do they? Surely those votes aren’t purchased (or engineered through social media getting Kiwis abroad to vote) just to improve the country’s profile abroad? Now, that would be ridiculous.
Conde Nast (a travel company that caters for the more upmarket tourist) has a very different list. It places New Zealand 7th – behind Australia, Spain and the USA. Italy tops its favourite country list for a second year in a row.
We think this goes to show how subjective these awards are, we advise people to use common sense when appraising them.
Conde Nast’s 2013 Travel Awards list may be found here: http://www.cntraveller.com/awards/readers-travel-awards/readers-travel-awards-2013/best-holiday-destinations
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