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StatsNZ on new economic measure of tourism

Tourism Satellite Account

New economic measure of tourism

The importance of tourism to the New Zealand economy is verified in a new report released by the Government Statistician. Currently the tourism sector is not identified in official industry statistics as it cuts across conventional industry boundaries.

The report, Tourism Satellite Account 1995, establishes a method for examining and measuring tourism's economic impact on the New Zealand economy and also presents experimental results for 1995. The satellite account provides a framework for bringing together data about the industry from different sources. The key measures derived from the account will provide the yardstick against which the performance of the industry can be assessed. Key results to emerge from the report include:

Tourism directly contributed $2.9 billion, or 3.4 per cent, to New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1995. This can be compared to the contribution of conventional industries such as agriculture (5.6 per cent), construction (3.5 per cent) and communications (3.0 per cent).

If the indirect flow-on effects are also included - and these occur when tourism industry providers such as transport firms, hotels and restaurants purchase goods and services from their suppliers - then a further $4 billion of GDP (4.6 per cent) was generated.

Total spending in New Zealand by all tourists was $9.1 billion for the year ended March 1995. Of this $4.3 billion was spent by overseas visitors and $3.5 billion by New Zealand households travelling for recreation and pleasure, while the remaining $1.3 billion was spent on travel by business and government.

The $4.3 billion spent by international visitors to New Zealand accounted for 15.8 per cent of total export earnings for 1995, more than any other export category.

An estimated 58,000 full-time equivalent persons were engaged in directly producing goods and services consumed by tourists. Another 60,000 full-time equivalent persons were indirectly engaged in supporting tourism.

Canada, the USA and Norway are the three other countries that have Tourism Satellite Accounts. Tourism is clearly more significant as a share of the economy in New Zealand than in other countries.

Although the statistics relate to 1995, the overall picture they present is not thought to have changed markedly since then. It is planned to update the figures for 1999. The methodology presented in Tourism Satellite Account 1995 is based on guidelines developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Tourism Organisation.

Len Cook


23 June 1999

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