What we do

Tourism New Zealand is responsible for promoting New Zealand in key markets as a visitor destination.

How we promote     The tourism sector     Tourism's contribution

To ensure tourism gives back more than it takes, we target high quality visitors from key markets. 

Once here, it’s important our visitors have a great experience, so we also guide them on travelling safely and caring for our home, people and culture.

We want to ensure that tourism contributes across four well-being pillars:

  • Economy The tourism economy thrives and grows adding incremental value to the New Zealand economy and its assets.
  • Nature Tourism restores, maintains and nourishes the environment for the intergenerational benefit of New Zealand.
  • Culture The tourism story and experience preserve and enhance our values, culture and heritage; the makeup of our identity.
  • Society People in and part of tourism communities thrive through jobs, shared knowledge, and physical and mental well-being.

How we promote New Zealand

Our activity is carefully focused on several key markets around the world and a select group of consumers within those key markets. This is so we get the maximum yield for the tourism industry.

We work offshore to encourage our target market, the 'Active Considerer' to come now, visit more of our regions and do more during their time here. Our advertising, media and events activity is continually evolving, to stay one step ahead of our competitors.

As well as marketing to consumers, our trade training, marketing and media programme is designed to ensure that those who sell New Zealand have the knowledge and understanding to do so well.

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Who makes up the tourism sector

Minister of Tourism The Minister of Tourism sets the priorities for the sector.

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) MBIE handles tourism policy and regulation. It provides tourism policy advice to the Minister of Tourism and works with other Government departments on key tourism policy issues, tourism research and statistics.

Tourism New Zealand Tourism New Zealand is the organisation responsible for marketing New Zealand to the world as a tourist destination. A Crown entity funded by the New Zealand Government, it was set up under the New Zealand Tourism Board Act 1991.

Regional tourism organisations (RTOs) RTOs operate in around 31 regions in New Zealand. They handle promoting their region to international and domestic visitors. Some RTOs are funded in part or in full by their local council, others are funded by annual membership fees.

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Tourism sector's contribution to New Zealand

Before COVID-19, tourism was New Zealand's largest export industry and delivered $40.9 billion to the country. Tourism made a significant positive impact on regional economies supporting employment by directly employing 8.4 percent (229,566 people) of the New Zealand workforce.

For the year ended March 2020:

  • Tourism was still New Zealand’s biggest export industry until the beginning of 2020, contributing 20.1% of foreign exchange earnings.
  • Total tourism expenditure was $41.9 billion, up 2.4 percent ($1.0 billion) from the previous year.
  • International tourism expenditure increased 2.7 percent ($371 million) to $17.5 billion, and contributed 20.1 percent to New Zealand’s total exports of goods and services.
  • Despite the increase in expenditure, the number of short-term arrivals to New Zealand decreased 5.6 percent in the same period.
  • Domestic tourism expenditure increased 2.7 percent ($629 million) to $24.4 billion.
  • Tourism generated a direct contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) of $16.4 billion, or 5.5 percent of GDP.
  • The indirect value added of industries supporting tourism generated an added $11.2 billion, or 4.0 percent of GDP.
  • 225,384 people were directly employed in tourism (8.0 percent of the total number of people employed in New Zealand), an increase of 2.5 percent from the previous year.
  • Tourists generated $3.9 billion in goods and services tax (GST) revenue, with $1.8 billion coming from international tourists.

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