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Tourism spending hits from quake, ash cloud less than feared

Media Statement
Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Tourism spending hits from earthquake, ash cloud less than feared

Significant events such as the Christchurch earthquake and Chilean ash cloud have not caused as large a fall in tourism spending as might have been feared, research from the Ministry of Economic Development shows.

Spending by international visitors dropped by 6.5 percent to $5.6 billion in the year ending June 2011, according to the International Visitors’ Survey, the first to fully cover the events of Christchurch and the Chilean volcano.

Ministry of Economic Development’s Tourism Research and Evaluation Manager, Peter Ellis, said the drop in spending is consistent with the previous survey, which covered the year to March.

“Spending by international tourists has been dropping for over a year even though the number arriving remains pretty constant. One significant reason tourists are spending less per visit still appears to be the extremely high New Zealand dollar in relation to currencies other than the Australian dollar,” Mr Ellis said.

“The Christchurch earthquakes and the flight schedule havoc caused by the Chilean volcano haven’t damaged tourism as much as feared. These adverse events had their main impact during what is always the low tourism season. On an annual basis the arrivals have held up and spending hasn’t collapsed.”

Spending by British and American tourists dropped by 18 percent and 14 percent respectively.

Spending by Australians, our biggest market, dropped by almost six percent as holidaymakers made use of their strong dollar in other markets. The number of Australian residents visiting New Zealand to see friends and relatives is increasing, while the higher spending holidaymakers are decreasing in number and spent 11 percent less than in the previous year.

Spending by Korean and Chinese tourists continued to increase. Koreans currently account for four percent of international tourist expenditure in New Zealand, and Chinese for seven percent.


Full release with data sheets: International_visitor_survey_June_2011.docx

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