CDL HOTELS expects strong international visitor numbers to hold up but has warned shareholders the strength of the New Zealand dollar may start to hurt arrivals from the United States.
The new chairman of CDL Hotels, Wong Hong Ren, told shareholders at the company's annual meeting yesterday that the company had enjoyed a positive start to 2004, with good initial trading seen throughout the group.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the board expected another profitable year for New Zealand's biggest hotel operator, as well as for its subsidiaries CDL Investments and Kingsgate International.
Mr Wong said offshore interest in New Zealand hotels was recovering well after the impact of Sars and the Iraq conflict and the board retained a positive long-term outlook.
"International visitor arrivals are predicted to remain strong as a result of increased airline capacity to New Zealand, the activities of Tourism New Zealand and our own sales and marketing initiatives," he said.
"There is a level of concern, however, that the strength of the New Zealand dollar may begin to have a bearing on the quantity of visitor arrivals from the US."
He said the company's strategy of targeting more New Zealand guests should provide a shield from any unforeseen fluctuations in international visitor flows.
While property company CDL Investment's year also got off to a good start, Mr Wong said there were signs the market might ease in the light of high exchange rates, recent increases in interest rates and a general cooling of the residential property investment market. But he said the company was on a sound footing, with no debt and a good spread of assets.