29 Aug 2008

Air NZ calls for more money to boost tourism

10:56 am on 29 August 2008

Air New Zealand is calling on the Government to increase its investment in tourism in the face of a softening economy.

The airline says it is critical that the Government acts now to protect New Zealand's market share, given the slowing growth in tourism.

Air New Zealand deputy chief executive Norm Thompson says visitor arrivals grew less than 1% in the past year and are forecast to rise about 3.3% through to 2014.

Mr Thompson says the $73 million in annual government funding for Tourism New Zealand is not enough to protect a sector that generates about $8.3 billion in foreign exchange and employs one in 10 people.

He says a further investment of between $20 million and $30 million would generate a significant return for the economy.