Chinese, US visitors drive record Kiwi tourism spending
Increasing numbers of travelers from China and the United States pushed tourism spending in New Zealand up by 5 percent to a record NZ$23.8 billion ($18.79 billion) in the year to the end of March, the government statistics agency announced Tuesday.
Spending by international tourists in New Zealand rose by 7.4 percent, or $709 million ($559.54 million), following a 1.8-percent fall in the previous year, according to Statistics New Zealand.
The number of short-term international visitors increased 5.4 percent over the same period.
"A significant rise in visitor numbers from the United States and continued growth in the number of Chinese tourists contributed to the largest increase in spending by international tourists since 2002," national accounts manager Gary Dunnet said in a statement.
International tourism expenditure contributed NZ$10.3 billion ($8.13 billion), or 15.3 percent, to New Zealand's total exports.
Only New Zealand's dairy sector contributed more at NZ$15.89 billion ($12.54 billion).
However, spending by international visitors has yet to return to levels before the global financial crisis, when it peaked at $10. 7 billion ($8.45 billion) in 2008.
Tourism generated a direct contribution to GDP of NZ$8.3 billion ($6.55 billion), or 4 percent of GDP, while the indirect value added industries supporting tourism generated an additional NZ$6.5 billion ($5.13 billion), or 3.1 percent of GDP.
The tourism industry directly provided 94,100 full-time equivalent jobs, or 4.7 percent of total employment in New Zealand.