20 Dec 2008

Summer tourism hopes pinned on Australia

3:05 pm on 20 December 2008

Tourism New Zealand is bringing forward a marketing campaign in Australia in a bid to boost visitor numbers over what may be a very slow summer.

Starting on Boxing Day, instead of in March, $2 million will be spent on television and online advertisements. It will be the first time the "What's On in New Zealand" campaign has been marketed over the summer months.

The industry has been hit harder than forecast, with the latest figures showing 4% fewer visitors in the 12 months to November.

The number of visitors from Asian countries has dropped sharply, but the Australian market has so far held up.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive, George Hickton, says the campaign is crucial to a good summer for tourism.

But Tourism Industry Association head Tim Cossar says the industry needs extra campaigns to attract Australian tourists here.

He says they will be considering holidays closer to home and New Zealand is an affordable option for them.