Industry insights

Themes and opportunities to how visitors contribute to New Zealand.

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.

How visitors contribute to New Zealand's wellbeing

Te Ōhanga(opens in new window)

Understanding how visitors to New Zealand contribute to New Zealanders wellbeing, including the visitor economy, spending power, carbon footprint and more.

Discover more