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Tourism spending over the summer high season continued to grow in most regions, providing jobs for regional New Zealand, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett says.

According to the latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the fastest growing region in the year to January 2017 was Nelson, which increased 14 per cent to $344 million, followed by the West Coast up 13 per cent to $495 million, and Otago up 11 per cent to $3.5 billion.

In the month of January 2017, the fastest growing regions were Tasman, up 19 per cent to $62 million, and Northland (up 14 per cent to $152 million) and West Coast (up 14 per cent to $71 million).

“Domestic and international tourism creates immense value for New Zealand, with tourism employing over 180,000 people in 2016,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Tourism operators, employees and New Zealanders should be congratulated for capitalising on the opportunities tourism provides. Last week the International Visitor Survey showed spending reached $10.1 billion in the year to December 2016, confirming that the tourism sector is hugely important to our economy.

“Government will play our part in supporting the sector and managing the challenges that come with a booming industry. If you look at our fastest growing regions, we’ve funded the Grey District Council $500,000 for parking and toilet facilities in the Cobden Aromahana and Foreshore area, Far North District Council has received $120,000 for a stand-alone wastewater system in Broadwood, and we’ve provided Central Otago District Council $250,000 for public toilet and treatment systems.

“Government also invests in infrastructure across the board to support visitors, including $17.2 million for fibre in Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman, and a forecasted $221 million for roading improvements in the top of the South Island.

“There is more work to do. The earthquake last November heavily affected the North Canterbury region, and though we are starting to see tourist spending recover slightly, it’s important we continue to market the area internationally, and encourage New Zealanders to keep visiting.”

Key facts for earthquake affected areas:

Tourism spending in North Canterbury, which includes Kaikoura and Hurunui Districts, saw an 18 per cent fall in the month of January 2017 (to $38 million) compared with January 2016. International visitor spending in North Canterbury fell 20 per cent in the month of January 2017, while domestic visitor spending fell 17 per cent over the same period. In areas adjacent to North Canterbury: Marlborough fell 1 per cent in the month of January 2017; Christchurch grew 2 per cent; and South Canterbury grew 17 per cent.

Further information from the Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates can be found here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-research-data/monthly-regional-tourism-estimates

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