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Southern Travel predicts 2009 profit even as tourism dips

Friday 27th June 2008

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Southern Travel Holdings, an inbound tour operator in New Zealand and Australia, said it will probably post a profit next year even as tourist activity falls.

The Auckland-based company today said pretax earnings in the year ending June 30 will be NZ$850,000, an increase from its previous estimate. It didn't give a forecast for next year's profit and plans to provide an update when its results for the current year are reported in September.

Southern Travel said organizational changes are helping buffer the company from a decline in tourist arrivals from Japan, a source of visitors it targets most.

"Fuel price rises and global economic challenges will inevitably impact the tourism industry so the forthcoming year's results are difficult to predict," chairman Rodney Walshe said. Still, "a profit is still expected."

Shares of Southern Travel last traded unchanged at 25 cents, a record low.

By Jonathan Underhill

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