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International visitor spend up 7.2% to $6.7 bil

Media Statement

International visitor spend up 7.2% to $6.7 billion

EMBARGOED until 20 December 2006 - 11:00am

International visitor spend increased to $6.7 billion in the year to September 2006, up 7.2% on the previous year, according to data just released by the Ministry of Tourism.

“This is a strong result for the tourism industry, especially as the time period no longer includes the spending from the 2005 Lions Tour,” said Bruce Bassett, Ministry of Tourism Research Manager.

“Also, the number of international visitors dipped slightly over this period and the length of stay of these visitors decreased marginally, which shows that this is a real spend increase."

The main reason for the boost is likely to be related to the weaker New Zealand dollar in the first and second quarters of 2006 giving visitors more purchasing power and so encouraging spending.

Key spend results from the latest figures include:
* Australia – down 2.7% to $1.4b
* United Kingdom – down 5.6% to $986m
* United States – up 11.1% to $679m
* Germany – up 14.1% to $248m
* Japan – down 24.9% to $455
* China – up 16.7% to $352m

“The drop in spend by visitors from the UK and Australia was expected following New Zealand’s 2005 Lions Tour boost from these countries,” said Mr Bassett.

The September year end spend figure ($6.7b) is lower than the year end June 2006 figure ($7.0b) which can be attributed to the influence of the Lions tour not being included in the September year results.

“The industry should be heartened by the growth in spending by our international visitors as we enter the January/February peak season,” said Mr Bassett.

ENDS

www.tourismresearch.govt.nz www.tourism.govt.nz

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