Tourism satellite account 2017: International tourist spend falls

International tourist spending dropped to $14.5bn in the year to March, down 0.9% compared with the previous corresponding period, according to Stats NZ’s Tourism satellite account for 2017 released this morning.

The TSA, which is New Zealand’s leading collection of tourism data, showed the drop despite record visitor arrivals over the same period.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends, and people travelling for work, reached 3.54 million in the year to March, up 8.9% on the previous year. Holiday arrivals were up 11.4% over the period.

Overall tourism expenditure for the year to March rose to $36bn, up 1.9% on the previous period. That compares to the 11% spending growth seen in the March 2016 year.

Spending by domestic tourists increased to $21.4bn, up 4.0% on the previous period.

“The increase in domestic spending reflects continued strength in the retail, passenger transport, and hospitality sectors,” said Stats NZ’s national accounts senior manager, Gary Dunnet.

Stats NZ said other key provisional estimates for the year ended March 2017 were:

  • International tourism remained New Zealand’s largest export earner contributing 20.7% to total exports of goods and services.
  • International tourists generated $1.5bn in GST revenue.
  • Overseas visitor arrivals increased 8.9%.
  • Tourism generated a direct contribution to GDP of $14.7bn – 5.9% of GDP.
  • The indirect value added of industries supporting tourism generated an additional $11.3bn for tourism – 4.6% of GDP.
  • 230,793 people were directly employed in tourism – 8.4% of the total number of people employed in New Zealand.

The latest report includes new national and regional estimates of expenditure related to cruise ships visiting New Zealand.

“We calculated these estimates using data from various sources including cruise-ship schedules and manifests together with international card transaction data,” said Dunnet.

In the year ended June 2017, total cruise-ship expenditure was $306m, up 12.5%, with Auckland and the Bay of Plenty regions benefitting the most from cruise ship visits.

Stats NZ said the new estimates complemented Cruise ship traveller statistics: June 2017 released in October.

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