24 Jan 2011

Better times for tourist market expected

7:22 am on 24 January 2011

An analyst is expecting the Rugby World Cup to provide a much-needed boost for the tourism industry this year, but says more cruise ships and conferences will also help the sector.

International visitor arrivals picked up only slightly last year.

Most of the growth came from Australia and Asia, while high-spending tourists from the UK and USA stayed away as their economies stagnated.

A senior investment analyst at Forsyth Barr, Jeremy Simpson, says he expect those economies to slowly recover, Australia will continue to be an important market and Asian growth will continue.

The Rugby World Cup will provide both a short term boost in visitor arrivals and a long-term marketing opportunity, he says.

Mr Simpson says the cruise industry is hugely significant, bringing in each year the same number as the Rugby World Cup will attract, while the ski-ing and convention market is also strong.