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Rugby World Cup visitors spent $390 million

Media Statement
Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Rugby World Cup visitors spent $390 million

Visitors to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup spent around $390 million, according to the International Visitors Survey released by the Ministry of Economic Development today.

“The survey shows the impact of the Rugby World Cup on tourism has been stronger than forecast,” said the Ministry of Economic Development’s Tourism Research and Evaluation Manager, Peter Ellis.

“We’re confident between 60 and 75 percent of the rugby visitors’ expenditure can be regarded as a net increase in tourism spending – that is, an increase over what would have been spent by visitors if there had been no world cup in New Zealand. Taking into account sampling uncertainty, our best estimate is that tourism expenditure in 2011 was between $220 and $340 million higher as a result of the Rugby World Cup.”

133,000 tourists had ticked on their arrival cards that they came to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup. The survey found that the average expenditure of adults in this group was around $3,400, compared to the average for all visitors of $2,400.

Overall tourist expenditure for 2011 was $5.8 billion, three percent higher in nominal terms than in 2010. Other changes over the year were a significant decline (36 percent) in Japanese tourist expenditure, caused in part by the Canterbury earthquake; and the continued rise in importance of Chinese tourists (26 percent higher spend than in 2010).

In 2011 for the first time expenditure by tourists from China (excluding Hong Kong) exceeded that from the United States of America.

The International Visitors Survey is based on interviews of tourists departing from New Zealand airports. Estimates are subject to sampling error; for example, the relative margin of error for the estimate of Rugby World Cup visitors’ spend is roughly ± 20 percent. The next release is in May 2012.

For more information visits the Ministry’s tourism research website ( or contact Tourism Research and Evaluation Manager Peter Ellis at 04 498 7448 or 029 771 0135 or on

Supplementary Data Sheet

International Visitor Survey, year ended December 2011
(Prepared by the Ministry of Economic Development)

Table 1: International visitor spend by key markets for year ended December 2011
(in NZ$ million)

Key Markets
(in NZ$ million)
% Change
Total Spend6,1475,9476,1875,5955,7631673%

Table 2: International arrivals in New Zealand from key markets for the year ended December 2011 (in thousands)

Key Markets
(in thousands)
% Change

Table 3: International visitor spend by purpose of visit for year ended December 2011
(in NZ$ million)

(in NZ$ million)
% Change
Total Spend6,1475,9476,1875,5955,7631673%

*Totals may not add due to rounding.
**VFR Visiting Friends and Relatives


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