About the tourism industry

Before Covid-19, Tourism was New Zealand's largest export industry in terms of foreign exchange earnings. It directly employed 8.4 per cent of the New Zealand workforce.

Data and statistics

For the year ended March 2019:

  • Total tourism expenditure was $40.9 billion, an increase of 4 percent ($1.6 billion) from the previous year.
  • International tourism expenditure increased 5.2 percent ($843 million) to $17.2 billion, and contributed 20.4 percent to New Zealand’s total exports of goods and services.
  • The number of short-term arrivals to New Zealand increased 1.3 percent over the same period.
  • Tourism generated a direct contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) of $16.2 billion, or 5.8 percent of GDP.
  • Tourism is our biggest export industry, contributing 21% of foreign exchange earnings.
  • The indirect value added of industries supporting tourism generated an additional $11.2 billion, or 4.0 percent of GDP.
  • 229,566 people were directly employed in tourism (8.4 percent of the total number of people employed in New Zealand), an increase of 3.9 percent from the previous year.
  • Tourists generated $3.8 billion in goods and services tax (GST) revenue, with $1.8 billion coming from international tourists

(Source: Tourism Satellite Account 2019, Statistics New Zealand)

Want to know more?

Find out more about our international markets, including latest statistics and data, in the Markets and Stats section of this website.

Visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Economic Development information for Tourism Industry Key Statistics.

Find out more about the global tourism industry at www.unwto.org