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Visitor's expected to reach 3.1 million in 2012

21 August, 2006 Media Statement

Visitor numbers expected to reach 3.1 million in 2012

International visitor arrivals are expected to grow by an average 4 per cent per annum over the next seven years, a new forecast released today by the Ministry of Tourism shows.

By 2012, international visitor numbers are expected to reach 3.1 million, up from 2.4 million in 2005.

The amount they spend is forecast to grow at 6.5 per cent per annum over the same period, to reach $10.1 billion in 2012.

Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor said the outlook was very encouraging for the industry.

"The forecasts highlight how tourism businesses in New Zealand, and those firms that support tourism, will continue to see steady growth.

"The long term prospects for tourism remain strong. To have one of our largest industries growing at this sustained rate creates important implications for New Zealand's overall economic performance and reinforces that we must ensure the sustainable use of our vital tourism resources."

Mr O'Connor said the Ministry of Tourism's forecasting methods have a reputation for accuracy, which provides a sound basis for planning across the sector.

Key points include:

Visitor Numbers

- Of the expected three-quarters of a million more visitors, the largest contributors to numbers are expected to come from Australia (up 229,000 or 26%), China (up 138,000 or 157%) and the UK (up 114,000 or 37%). Together, these countries are expected to account for two-thirds of the total increase.

- The China visitor market is expected to overtake the Japan and South Korea markets within the next four years to become New Zealand's fourth largest market behind Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA. Chinese visitors are expected to increase to 226,000 by 2012, with an annual average growth of 14.5%.

Visitor Spend

- Total tourism expenditure is forecast to grow by 37.5% from $13.3 billion in 2005 to $18.3 billion in 2012. Of this $5 billion expected increase, $3.6 billion is expected from international (to $10.1 billion) and $1.4 billion from domestic tourism (to $8.2 billion).

- International tourism expenditure is likely to surpass domestic tourism expenditure by 2007, reaching 55% of all tourism expenditure by 2012.

- All 30 regional tourism organisation areas are forecast to increase their tourism receipts by between 20% and 49% over the period 2005-2012. Those regions with higher proportion of international visitor demand are expected to perform better.

Outbound Travel

- Outbound travel by New Zealand residents is forecast to increase by 8.5% to 2.03 million trips in 2012. This represents an average growth of 1.2% per annum.

A summary report Tourism Forecasts 2006-2012 and detailed forecast tables are available on the Ministry of Tourism research website:


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