NZ international visitor spending reaches new high

International visitor spending in New Zealand reached a record high of NZ$10.4 billion in the year to September 2017.

The latest International Visitor Survey results from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) showed expenditure increased 4 per cent compared with the year ended September 2016.

The record spending was boosted by the British and Irish Lions tour of the country during the third quarter. Visitors from the UK alone spent NZ$181 million in the third quarter of 2017, up 104 per cent on same quarter in 2016.

There was also a boost in visitor numbers coming from the United States which led to a 14 per cent jump in spending over the year, to NZ$1.2 billion.

“Though international visitor numbers continue to climb, overall expenditure growth has been moderated by the strong New Zealand dollar, which affects the amount visitors spend,” explained Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.  “MBIE has forecast that visitor numbers and expenditure will see steady growth over the next few years. Annual international visitor spend is predicted to grow 47 per cent by 2023, reaching $15.3 billion.”

The NZ Government’s priority will be to help manage the growth, Minister Davis says.

“We are planning to invest in infrastructure, the conservation estate and training for our tourism sector workers.  I will be looking at various options as ways of responding to the sudden growth in visitor numbers and ensuring a sustainable funding model for tourism.

“My first step will be to talk to people in the tourism sector so that any funding and investment changes are well informed and meet the needs of the industry,” the Minister added.

Article published 21st November 2017