The suffering tourism industry is looking to New Zealanders and visitors from Australia to soften the blow of falling international tourist numbers.
A new report from the Tourism Ministry says the domestic market, tourists from Australia and visits to friends and families are likely to play an important role in buffering the sector from the impact of the economic slowdown.
The ministry says there were almost 174,000 international visitor arrivals during October, 6000 fewer than the same time last year. It is also the lowest October arrival figure since 2003.
Travel industry representatives say this is an opportune time for tourism operators to reassess where their market is and focus more on the domestic market.