New Zealand is on a roll, with soaring tourism earnings elbowing aside dairy produce to become the nation’s top export earner, and New Zealand overtaking Singapore as the best country in the world to do business.
New Zealand was rated second to Singapore as the top place to live for expatriates in a survey by HSBC bank in September.
On the tourism front, New Zealand’s “100% Pure” brand is regarded as the gold standard, both in terms of tourism and gastronomy. Hobbit-themed tourism has worked wonders and luxury lodges are continuing to spring up. New Zealand ranks highly in desirability, placed in the top 10 in international surveys for democracy, lack of corruption, peace and satisfaction.
The New Zealand Government has focused on attracting the right mix of visitors to the country’s shores, ensuring they have high-quality experiences. It supports regions to make the most of the rising numbers of tourists . Taxes for working holidaymakers are simple and generous; there has been no “backpacker tax” flip-flopping.
The government considers tourism so important, the role of Tourism Minister has always been taken by the Prime Minister, John Key.
Bloomberg News Service recently noted that mega-wealthy investors from around the world are heading for New Zealand, as a bolthole from the world’s problems and as a place to do business. Russian steel magnate Alexander Abramov and Hollywood director James Cameron are among the latest to have built multi-million dollar hideaways in the New Zealand countryside.
Spending by international tourists is roaring ahead, having grown by almost 20% on the previous year. Domestic tourism spending grew by 7.4% giving the sector a NZD 3.8 billion increase on last year. Tourism accounted for 5.6% of GDP with a direct contribution of NZD 12.9 billion while directly employing 188,136 people – 7.5% of the total number of people employed in New Zealand.
A couple of weeks ago, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon told an Australian audience that Kiwis were returning home from around the world.
“That happens when you have an economy with some stability which has actually had only two prime ministers in 17 years!” he quipped.
New Zealanders enjoyed watching the Australian political scene, Luxon added, because they loved Australian soap operas.
Written by Peter Needham