International tourism spend surpasses $10 billion for the first time

Value and volume in the tourism sector continues to rise with new data sets showing yet more international visitors came this April than last and each of those visitors is spending more while here. 

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the results are evidence that the organisation is making a real difference for the industry, as it focuses its efforts on increasing value.

International Travel and Migration data, released today by Statistics New Zealand, shows total visitor arrivals for the year ending April up 10.6 per cent and holiday arrivals up 15.5 per cent.

In addition, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s International Visitor Survey shows total international spend up 25 per cent for the year ending March pushing total spend to over $10 billion for the first time.

Kevin says: “To see this level of growth in off-peak arrivals is exceptionally good news for the industry – by extending the traditional peak season it enhances employment opportunities and the value growth is bringing significant economic benefit to the country.”

Last week’s TRENZ conference in Rotorua ended on a high when the Prime Minister announced additional funding for the tourism industry, including $8 million for Tourism New Zealand over the next four years.

“The increased funding will be used to target growth opportunities from the USA and India to generate value for the industry now and into the future,” says Kevin.

Arrivals from the US have continued to grow strongly with total arrivals for the year ending April up 10.6 per cent. This is further bolstered by spend which is up 46 per cent for the year ending March to $1.2 billion.

“Additional marketing activity will be seen immediately in the US with Tourism New Zealand’s investment set to capitalise on newly announced air services – which are expected to result in a 30 per cent increase in seats between the United States and New Zealand,” says Kevin.

Total arrivals from India are up 11.4 per cent while holidays arrivals are up 16.4 per cent for the year ending April.

“Indian visitors prefer to travel outside our peak seasons, directly supporting our objective to spread arrivals throughout the year and the extra funding will further support activity to drive growth from this market,” says Kevin.

China continues to grow with total arrivals up 29.2 per cent and holiday arrivals up 34.0 per cent for the year ending April.

“This is supported by growth in spend in the China market which is also up 41 per cent to an average $4,900 per visitor.

“Our number one visitor market Australia has maintained steady growth with total arrivals for the year ending April up 6.8 per cent and holiday arrivals up 9.1 per cent,” says Kevin.

Arrival figures for the UK and Germany have also shown solid growth, with holiday arrivals for Germany up 16.4 per cent and the UK up 10.3 per cent year on year.


Georgina Maguire, Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand
021 478 659,

Tourism New Zealand markets New Zealand to the world as a visitor destination. In the year ending April 2016, 3.27 million international visitors came to New Zealand. International tourism is one of New Zealand’s largest earners of foreign exchange, adding around NZ$11.8 billion annually to the nation’s economy.