ITS: Visa visitors spend up large in 2016

International visitors to New Zealand spent $2.8bn last year – a 12.3% increase on 2015 according to a new tourism report by Visa.

The Visa Tourism Spend Report, released at the Auckland Airport International Travel Summit 2017, also showed overall transactions were up by 23% year-on-year.

In 2016 New Zealand received more than 3.5m international visitors – a 12% rise over the previous 12 months.

Visa’s country manager for New Zealand & South Pacific, Marty Kerr, told Summit attendees the transaction data shows just how strongly New Zealand is performing overall as a destination market for international visitors.

Visitors from Australia, USA, China, UK and Germany spent the most in New Zealand via Visa in 2016, with Australian’s clocking in more than $300m followed by the US on less than $200m.

However, the USA, South Korea, Japan and Germany delivered the greatest growth in spend led by the US on 22.2%.

Only the UK, out of the top 10 markets, showed a decline in total spend in 2016 compared with 2015.

Several emerging markets outside of the top 10, such as Argentina, the Philippines and Ukraine saw an increase in spend of more than 50%.

“What we found most notable is that out of the top 10 nationalities coming to New Zealand – which represent 84% of all Visa spend by visitors to this country – New Zealand improved its spend ranking across six of those inbound markets between 2015 and 2016,” said Kerr.

Visa transactions made by visitors rose from 14.8m to just over 18.1m – resulting in New Zealand outperforming Australia in key visitor markets of USA, Germany, France, Canada and South Korea.

“It’s pleasing to see New Zealand outperforming our Australian counterparts in more than half of the top nine markets by transaction volume.

“Overall, the inbound markets contributing the most to the increase in transactions were USA, China, Japan and Germany, each growing by more than 25%. While the UK spend did decline slightly year-on-year, the number of Visa transactions made by UK Visa cardholders increased,” explains Kerr.

The report also shows Visa cardholders from South Korea, Singapore and China spent considerably more on average per transaction in New Zealand, and in some cases more than double that of visitors from Japan, Canada and USA, suggesting these markets represent a potentially higher value visitor.

South Koreans spent $165 per transaction, Singaporeans $147 and Chinese $145. Germans spent least per transaction at $69.

The categories experiencing the greatest increase in tourist spend were restaurants, food and grocery, fuel and transport, and travel services, all increasing by more than 15% compared to 2015.

According to Visa, cross border travel around the globe is estimated to rise dramatically by 2025, with spending reaching nearly US$2.15trn annually.

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