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New Zealanders Spend $3.0 Billion Overseas

Survey of Returned Travellers: Year ended June 2004

6 April 2005 New Zealanders Spend $3.0 Billion While on Overseas Trips

New Zealanders away on overseas trips of less than one year spent $3.0 billion in the year ended 30 June 2004, according to results of the Survey of Returned Travellers (SORT) released by Statistics New Zealand. Results of the two-year sample survey, which concluded in the June 2004 quarter, show that the total expenditure for both years varied on a quarterly basis.

The September 2003 quarter recorded the highest level of expenditure for the year ended June 2004, at $872 million, and the March 2004 quarter recorded the lowest level of expenditure for that year, at $623 million, reflecting seasonal travel patterns. These peak and low periods were consistent with the results for the year ended June 2003, the first year of the survey.

Approximately 82 percent of expenditure was attributed to personal (non-business) travel, while 18 percent was for business-related travel. A similar breakdown of expenditure by purpose of travel was recorded in the results for the June 2003 year. Business travellers spent, on average, $220 per day, twice as much as personal travellers ($112).

This was, however, offset by personal travellers being away twice as long, on average, as business travellers. This resulted in a net effect of similar average expenditure for both personal and business travellers. The average expenditure per trip for all travellers was $2,277 in the June 2004 year, down from $2,444 the previous year. This reflected a fall in the average length of stay of travellers. Average expenditure per day remained largely unchanged.

Forty-one percent of all expenditure by New Zealand travellers occurred in Australia, for the year ended June 2004. The next-highest levels of spending were recorded in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA), both at 10 percent. Travellers to Australia spent $1,277 million in the year, and accounted for 63 percent of all trips taken. Travellers to the UK and the USA spent $313 million and $306 million, respectively, and together accounted for approximately 16 percent of all trips taken.

The results of SORT, in addition to other data sources, are being used to develop a data model to estimate expenditure by New Zealanders on short-term overseas travel (travel debits) in the quarterly Balance of Payments statistics.

Ian Ewing

Acting Government Statistician


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