New research reveals the real value of visitors to Aotearoa

Tourism is vital to New Zealand’s recovery and new insights reveal the true value of the sector as well as dispelling some misconceptions.   

“Tourism is a major employer of women and youth and on average every $178,000 of visitor spend creates one new job These jobs are important for our regions, especially where there may be few other employment options,” says Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall.    

The research reveals it takes 12 overnight trips from Kiwis to equal the spend of one international visitor, which means New Zealand is likely to see a gap of $12.9 billion per annum without international visitors.   

International visitors also spend three times more per day than residents and domestic visitors spend two times more per day.   

England-Hall adds that what may come as a surprise is the difference in productivity between businesses that primarily serve visitors such as experiences and accommodation compared with the wider visitor economy, who benefit from visitor spend on things like hospitality and entertainment.    

“Having this distinction is important to understand how New Zealand rebuilds a more productive sector as well as the ways visitors contribute to amenities that our communities get value from, like local café’s and event venues.” 

“Embracing technology and improving digital capability could lift tourism productivity even further.  This could result in higher wages and better standards of living, especially for our regional communities.”    

“Kiwis are doing a fantastic job travelling domestically but New Zealand will need high value international visitors to sustain the sector and the economy outside weekends and public holidays.”   

“The tourism sector should be incredibly proud about the value it brings to Aotearoa and these insights help demonstrate the important role they play for New Zealand.”    

The insights also show there is still some work to do to become more environmentally sustainable, however its carbon impact isn’t what some might think.    

“The sector is doing some incredible things to reduce or offset carbon with many operators moving towards being Carbon Zero. While there is still work to be done, tourism’s carbon efficiency is improving, and its intensity is lower than other large sectors including agriculture, utilities and mining.”  

“It’s incredibly important we have accurate information about the sector to share with Government and industry so we can plan for a future that ensures that tourism gives back more than it takes to our people and communities.”  

The insights will be shared with Government and industry with more research expected to be conducted in the coming months.