WELLINGTON, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Visitors from China are keeping New Zealand's tourism industry afloat, but the industry's contribution to the country's economy stagnates, according to a University of Canterbury study.
Tourism's direct contribution to GDP had been sitting at 3.3 percent for the last three years, while the industry's generation of employment had declined for the last two years, marketing lecturer Dr. Girish Prayag said Monday.
Despite signs of recovery in specific markets, the figures were nowhere near the 2009 level when New Zealand recorded 6 percent real growth in travel and tourism contribution to the country's GDP.
"Since then, there has been no real growth in spending on travel and tourism. The World Travel and Tourism Council figures show a growth in spending of 5.3 percent in 2009, with this figure declining to 3.8 percent in 2012 and 3.1 percent this year," Prayag said in a statement.
"Attracting international travel to New Zealand remains a challenge. While early 2013 figures are promising for some markets, the reality is that New Zealand recorded negative growth last year," he said.
"Asian markets showed reasonable growth in tourist arrival numbers and leading the way is China with 35.4 percent growth in total number of arrivals last year. Yet, the hope of recovery will only materialize this year if there is a sustained marketing effort in the growth markets."
New Zealand was struggling to develop such an engaging and effective strategy, given that visitors from emerging markets were value-conscious, had diverse expectations and options for holidays were endless. "Our competitors, including Australia, want the same customers too. We need to have the infrastructure and services in place to satisfy these visitors."