New Zealand Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor told the Holiday Accommodation Parks New Zealand conference in Hamilton that Australia is a growing off-peak domestic market for NZ tourism.
And, he said New Zealand needs to encourage travel outside peak periods, ideally October, November and April May.
HAPNZ President, Ian Smith, introduced NZ Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor to delegates from the North and South Islands who are in Hamilton for the 50th HAPNZ Conference.
The West Coast-Tasman MP said New Zealands Australian Whats On campaign has resulted in a significant jump in the Australian holiday market during autumn.
A 6.2 per cent increase in autumn (March to May) holiday visitor numbers to New Zealand meant an additional 4769 Australian visitors during what is a traditionally quieter time of the year.
Te Rapa School welcome conference delegates
The Te Rapa School kapa haka welcomed the HAPNZ delegates with their singing
Damien OConnor wholaunched the campaign last year to encourage off-peak travel to New Zealand said the extra visitors are very good news for the tourism industry, for operators and for New Zealand.
The tourism industry usually slows down at this time of the year, and what this campaign has done is kept tourism spending flowing through the economy for much longer, he said in a statement earlier this month.
At this rate the number of Australians visiting New Zealand annually will hit the magic 1 million mark in the not too distant future. That's our challenge, he said.
In the year to April 2007, a total of 913,276 Australians visited New Zealand.
Mr OConnor said the campaign has also successfully focused on getting Australians out to more New Zealand regions.
Many Regional Tourism Organisations have invested in the Whats On campaign, in some cases enabling them to run television commercials in Australia for the first time.
The Whats On campaign, fronted by television personality Petra Bagust and actor Robbie Magasiva, was launched in August 2006. Its aim is to encourage Australians to visit at different times of the year, visit different places and try new things when in the country.
Ian Smith HAPNZ President
Tourism New Zealand is now working on the spring campaign, which will go live in Australia in August.
The strength of the Kiwi dollar is having a slight influence on the number of visitors to New Zealand, new research shows.
Tourism has been successful in New Zealand over the past 12 months Damien O'Connor said.
Proactive groups like HAPNZ have helped the economy move forward too and tourism now accounts for 9 percent of New Zealand's GDP driven by 6.1m guest nights. The commitment to providing measurable high standards is shown in 33 per cent of tourism businesses having Qualmark accreditation.
Initiatives like AA Tourism's 101 Must Do campaign also assisted tourism.
He said delegates at the HAPNZ conference were unique among accommodation providers - here there are less suits and more smiles, he said. The HAPNZ Conference theme is balancing business and the body
A key finding of recent research, undertaken for the Tourism Ministry by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), is that in the long term, the exchange rate is not a determinant of tourism growth.
Peter Blackwell AATourism Marketing Manager
Commenting on the research recently Damien O'Connor said - Even in a high exchange rate environment, visitor numbers perform very well, particularly from our largest markets, Australia and the United Kingdom.
While many of our export industries are feeling the heat from the rising dollar, this finding is heartening at least for one of our top income earners.
The finding supports the view that many people who choose to come to New Zealand are prepared to pay extra for the quality experience they expect and receive when they get here. The high dollar also has some direct benefit in that our marketing dollars overseas go further.
The research finds that: ' changes in the exchange rate have very little influence on visitor arrivals. A 1 per cent increase in the value of the New Zealand dollar is estimated to reduce the number of visitors by 0.02 per cent.'
Business to Business Rob and Peter
According to the report, the main reason why tourism is not buffeted about quite so much as other export industries is that underlying trend growth in visitor numbers and average expenditure is very strong, Mr O'Connor said
The report says the most important factor is income growth in overseas markets. It says that a 1 per cent growth in world incomes typically drives growth in tourism numbers by 1.7 per cent.
The research does show, however, that a high dollar has an impact on visitor spending and domestic tourism. Clearly this study provides tourism leaders with much food for thought as we move forward, Mr O'Connor said.
Barbara and Ray Discuss benefits of Family Parks
Ian and Vicki Smith president of HAPNZ discussing GoSeeNewZealand
Jumping Pillows and Berg Bikes are also demonstrated
Kristen from Windor Heritage and Gerard from Onsite Ensuites