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Rise in fuel costs attributed to spending increase

NEWS RELEASE

International visitor spending up over 2005

Rise in fuel costs attributed to spending increase

Auckland, 10 July 2006 – New tourist spending data from Visa International points to the rising cost of fuel as one driver behind an increase in overall spend by international Visa cardholders in New Zealand earlier this year.

Visitors to New Zealand spent NZ$3.9 million or 27 per cent more at automotive service stations during the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2005, contributing to an overall spend increase of five per cent in local currency terms.

Cardholders from the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Canada and Germany were the biggest spenders in New Zealand, collectively accounting for 74 per cent of the total NZ$766 million spent here during January, February and March 2006.

Travel agencies were the biggest winners with visitors spending NZ$7.5 million more with them than they did in the first quarter of 2005, a jump of 17 per cent.

“The tourism sector experienced another boost earlier this year with visitors to New Zealand spending nearly $5 million more on hotels than they did in early 2005. The bumper ski season we’re currently experiencing should help this trend continue and we hope to see strong inbound tourism spend figures in the coming months,” says Visa International’s Country Manager for New Zealand, Iain Jamieson.

The most popular Visa spend categories were transport (22 per cent of total Visa spend), retail goods (16 per cent), accommodation (13 per cent), sports and leisure (nine per cent) and restaurants and groceries (eight per cent)1. The top retail merchants were clothing, flowers and gifts, and department and discount stores.

The highest average spend per transaction came from South Koreans at NZ$324 compared to an overall average of NZ$155.

1 Excludes cash withdrawals.

ENDS

FACT SHEET
Tourist Spending in New Zealand
(January - March 2006)

- Tourists to New Zealand spent NZ$766 million (US$510 million) on their Visa cards during the first quarter of 2006.
- Between January and March 2006, the overseas visitors spent five percent more than they did in the same period a year ago in local currency terms.
- Cardholders from United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Canada and Germany were the biggest Visa spenders in New Zealand collectively accounting for 74 percent of total Visa spend by international cardholders.
- European Union cardholders made up 46 percent of the inbound spend, Asia Pacific cardholders – 32 percent, US cardholders – 16 percent, Canadians – three percent and cardholders from Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa – two percent.
- The most popular Visa spend categories were transport (22 percent of total Visa spend), retail goods (16 percent), accommodation (13 percent), sports and leisure (nine percent) and restaurants and groceries (eight percent)1.
- Approximately 5 million transactions were made by overseas tourists in New Zealand. Most were made at restaurant and food outlets (974,000) retail and wholesale outlets (931,000) and transportation services (825,000).
- The top retail merchants were clothing merchants (NZ$25 million or US$16.8 million), flowers and gifts (NZ$23 million or US$15.6 million) and department and discount stores (NZ$10.9 million or US$7.2 million).
- The biggest incremental increases in spend occurred at travel agencies (increase of NZ$7.5 million or US$2.8 million), hotels (increase of NZ$4.8 million or increase of US$1.8 million due to exchange rate fluctuations) and automotive service stations (an additional spend of NZ$3.9 million or US$1.9 million). Visitors spend at vocational and trade schools grew by 233 percent compared to Q1 2005, which was the highest percentage increase among major subindustries tracked by Visa.
- The largest decrease in international Visa spend compared to a year earlier was recorded by college, university, junior college and professional schools (fall of NZ$3.6 million or US$3.2 million), non-catalog direct marketers (loss of NZ$3.1 million or US$2.6 million) and combination catalog and retail merchant (loss of NZ$2.6 million or US$2.2 million). Spending at inbound telemarketing merchants decreased by 40 percent compared to Q1 2005, which was the largest percentage fall among major sub industries tracked by Visa.
- International cardholders withdrew NZ$173 million or US$115 million from ATMs and over-the-counter.
- Average spend per transaction was NZ$155 ($103).
- Cardholders from South Korea had the highest average spend per transaction in New Zealand (NZ$324 or US$216), followed by the Chinese (NZ$302 or US$201) and cardholders from Thailand (NZ$243 or US$162).
- Majority of Visa transactions were conducted between cardholders and merchants in person (83 percent).
- 5.6 percent of the total international Visa spend in New Zealand occurred at online merchants.

Notes on the report
- The report focuses on the 30 largest cardholder countries of origin, which account for almost 100 percent of the total regional Visa spending by international cardholders in New Zealand. All data are based on transactions processed through VisaNet, Visa’s global transaction processing network, and include both consumer and business transactions.
- Major sub industries include the top 60 merchant types in term of visitors’ Visa spend in the most recent quarter.
- Spending is broken down into 10 broad spending categories, and can be further disaggregated into 28 sectors, 92 industries and 280 sub industries.
1 Excludes cash withdrawals.

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