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International visitors spend $10 billion in year to March

Media Release

19 May 2017

International visitors spend $10 billion in year to March 2017

Spending by international visitors in New Zealand was $10 billion for the year ending March 2017, according to the latest International Visitor Survey released today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

MBIE’s Acting Manager of Sector Trends Ben Wallace says that after a period of very strong growth, international visitor spending slowed, down 2 per cent for the year ending March 2017.

“There is a slight drop in international visitor spending for the year, however growth is forecast to pick up again in the medium to long term,” Mr Wallace says.

“The strong performance of the New Zealand Dollar against the currencies of our major tourism markets could also be a factor in international visitor spending decreasing slightly. However, the increasing number of visitors (3.54 million visitors in the year ending March 2017) contributed to total visitor spending remaining relatively stable,” says Mr Wallace.

Over the last three years, international visitor spending has grown, with the total spend up 49 per cent over the period. Spending growth was strongest in China with growth of 88 per cent over the three years, while the USA and Korea grew at 61 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.

International visitors coming to New Zealand for a holiday spent $6.3 billion in the year ending March 2017, followed by $2.1 billion for those visiting friends and relatives, and $0.7 billion for business travelers.

The International Visitor Survey is based on results from approximately 8,700 visitors departing New Zealand airports, with data released by MBIE quarterly.

More information is available on the International Visitor Survey website, as well as MBIE’s data on the effects from the earthquakes in North Canterbury last year, and the recently released Tourism Forecasts.


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