International visitor spending steady over year to December 2016

On: 17 February 2017

International visitor spending grew 4 per cent to $10.1 billion in the year ended December 2016, according to the latest International Visitor Survey released today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

MBIE manager of Sector Trends Peter Ellis says the latest International Visitor Survey results suggest that while international visitor spending growth remains positive, spending has begun to stabilise after period of record growth.

“Over the last quarter, the New Zealand dollar appreciated against the currencies of some of our key tourist markets, such as the United Kingdom, China and Canada, which likely contributed to growth in international visitor spend being lower than previous quarters,” says Mr Ellis.

“Average spend per visitor has seen a small decrease. However, the record high 3.5 million visitors in the 2016 year has kept visitor spending growth positive at 4 per cent, although this growth is within the margin of error for the survey. Spending from Chinese visitors is at a similar level for 2016 when compared with the same period in 2015, at $1.7 billion,” says Mr Ellis.

International visitors coming to New Zealand for a holiday spent the most in total for this period with a total spend of $6.4 billion, up 10 per cent compared to year ended December 2015.

The earthquake in North Canterbury in November 2016 had a limited overall impact nationwide on tourism expenditure, with the effects of lower visitor numbers and spending limited to districts within the North Canterbury region. The next International Visitor Survey on 19 May 2017 (for the period year ended 30 March 2017) will provide more insight into the earthquake’s effects on international tourism spending.

The International Visitor Survey is based on results from approximately 8,450 visitors departing New Zealand airports, with data released by MBIE quarterly.

Summary statistics are available in the International Visitor Survey key data table.

 

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