21 Mar 2009

Larger tourist operators suffering

5:10 am on 21 March 2009

Larger tourism businesses are struggling much more than smaller ones in the economic downturn.

Research by the Ministry of Tourism shows there was an average fall of 6.1% in visitor numbers in the three months to March. Larger businesses had the most severe drop of 7.5%.

This is attributed partly to reliance by larger operators on travellers from Asia, who have been among the first to stop visiting this country.

Access to credit is also reported to be having a negative effect on one in five small to medium-sized operators.

Tourism companies expect demand to fall even further, to around 8% in the three months to May.