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Honest Kiwi democracy drawing tourists

20/07/2016 12:30:00 p.m.

The honesty of our Government impacts more on tourist numbers than earthquakes, or even the 2007 global financial crisis, a new study shows, and it is something we need to keep working on.

‘The main determinants effecting international visitor arrivals in New Zealand: Some empirical evidence’ by Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Marketing Michael Clemes and Azmat Gani Sultan of Qaboos University, Oman, uses data from 24 of New Zealand’s main visitor origin countries.
It looks outside the usual standard determinants (per capita incomes, relative prices, exchange rates and transport costs) between visitor origin and destination countries.
The study finds good governance has a positive effect on tourist numbers, in contrast to the crises, which have statistically insignificant impacts.
Governance is the capacity of a government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies as well as the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions, such as law and order, and property rights.
It also covers how they achieve it – whether it is with low corruption and cronyism, and civic responsibility.
The results of the research suggest that the New Zealand Government should continuously fund and support its institutions involved in upholding the rule of law, law enforcement, suppressing corruption and continuously improving governance.
Mr Clemes says the good governance index reveals New Zealand, when compared to many other countries, is already exemplary in the area.
“We argue that New Zealand’s exemplary achievement in good governance is a major destination country attribute, among other factors, that attracts international visitors,” Mr Clemes says.
“Good governance has been the hallmark of New Zealand’s long-term political and economic progress. According to Transparency International’s measure of public sector corruption in 2014, New Zealand was the second cleanest or least corrupt country in the world for seven consecutive years, and ranked fourth in 2015.”
We have, however, slipped downwards from a score of 91 in 2013 and 2014 (second of the 168 countries) to 88 in 2015 (fourth out of the 168 countries) on the corruption scale.
“This deterioration in one of the core dimensions that contributes to good governance may send the wrong signals to international visitors and may deter their visits.
“Our findings also reveal a negative, but statistically insignificant effect, of the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 on international visitor arrivals to New Zealand.”
They also do not provide any significant effect of the global financial crisis on visitor arrivals to New Zealand, he says.

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