Three million reasons to celebrate tourism’s value to New Zealand

Tourism New Zealand is celebrating today’s milestone of reaching three million international visitors annually for the first time, saying it spells jobs, income and economic value for all New Zealanders. 

Tourism is this country’s biggest services export and Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the industry is growing strongly.

“Yesterday the International Visitor Survey showed total international visitor expenditure up 28 per cent to $8.7 billion, and now having topped three million arrivals, it’s good news for all New Zealanders. 

“International visitor spend is distributed widely across the economy; it’s not just accommodation or tourism activities that benefit; spending occurs at the local supermarket, petrol station, dairy, retail shops, and a myriad of other local businesses.”

Even before this recent surge in visitor numbers, the tourism industry was directly responsible for nearly 100,000 jobs (4.7 per cent of employment) in New Zealand. A further 73,000 people are indirectly employed bringing the total number of people employed as a result of tourism to around 170,000 (or 8.3 per cent of all New Zealand’s employment)*.

“We are also starting to see more visitors arriving outside of the traditional summer period and a wider regional distribution of visitor spending – all positive signs for the long-term growth of the industry and New Zealand’s regions.  

Data released today by the Statistics New Zealand show that for the year-ending July 2015, over three million visitors came to the country, an increase of 7.3 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Leading the way was the Australians at 1.29 million maintaining steady growth of 4.1 per cent.

New Zealand’s second largest source of visitor arrivals are the Chinese at 315,248, growing at 29.5 per cent year on year.

The UK, USA, Germany and Japan round out New Zealand’s top six source markets. 

Kevin says potential visitors to New Zealand continue to associate the country with landscapes and scenery, wildlife, and adventure.

“For the past 15 years we have been playing to these strengths through the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign, during which time annual visitor arrivals have grown from around 1.54 million to where they are today.”


* Tourism Satellite Account 2014 – See full report here

Contact Georgina Maguire, Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand; phone +64 21 478 659