7 Dec 2012

Tourism industry told to keep focus on Europe and UK

7:34 am on 7 December 2012

Tourism Holdings says the tourism industry is losing focus on its traditional European market which could risk the $500 million campervan sector.

The country's largest campervan rental operator commissioned a report into the sectors value, which was funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The research found that over 2011, excluding the Rugby World Cup, domestic campervan occupants spent $38.1 million, while international campervan tourists spent $447.9 million.

Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster said the campervan's key markets are the traditional British, Australian and European markets, and the industry needs to continue to invest in them.

He said there's rightfully a lot of focus on the likes of the Chinese market and the value that it can add.

"But we're losing focus on what some of these core traditional markets can bring and what the value of those customers are on a per customer basis."

Mr Webster said the risk is that the industry creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of saying that Europe and the UK are declining markets.

But he said these traditional markets are very valuable because they spend a lot of money per customer, they stay a lot longer and they visit the regions which grows regional tourism.

Mr Webster said Europe and Britain are so valuable that there should be an extraordinary effort put into delivering those customers to New Zealand.