International visitor numbers up in NZ

Communities around New Zealand are continuing to benefit from steady growth in international visitor spending, which reached NZ$10.1 billion in the year to December, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett has revealed.

The latest International Visitor Survey results from New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) shows that visitor spending is up 4 per cent over the same period in 2015.

“Last year we welcomed 3.5 million visitors to our shores,” explained Mrs Bennett. “Tourism is our biggest export market and is hugely important to our economy. It’s great to see today’s release of the International Visitor Survey confirming that spending from international tourists remains strong.”

The Minister continued: “International visitors coming to New Zealand for a holiday spent the most for this period with a total spend of NZ$6.4 billion, up 10 per cent compared with the previous year. It was great to see strong growth in visitor spending from South Korea, which increased 82 per cent from 2015 to NZ$299 million.”

“It’s positive to see the industry still achieve a 4 per cent increase in visitor spending after record growth in 2015. We want to maintain these numbers while still ensuring these tourists can have a great visitor experience.”

Auckland is the country’s most popular location for international visitors, receiving 1.2 million overseas tourists last year. Christchurch with over 701,000 visitors, and Queenstown with more than 690,000 were the next two popular locations.

“There is a range of work underway to support the tourism sector to attract the right mix of visitors around New Zealand’s regions, and ensuring visitors have a great time,” Mrs Bennett continued. “This includes funding for regional infrastructure projects, an education campaign for visiting drivers, and ongoing work to assess options for meeting future infrastructure needs.”

She concluded: “The earthquake [in Canterbury] last November had a limited overall impact nationwide on tourism expenditure. The effects of lower visitor numbers and spending was limited to the regions that suffered damage, especially Kaikoura. We are continuing to provide support to the North Canterbury region, such as the Employees Support Subsidy scheme and the restoration of the Kaikoura harbour and transport routes.”

Article published 17th February 2017