An outstanding 12 months in tourism has the industry tracking ahead of schedule to achieve its Tourism 2025 goal of almost doubling its contribution to New Zealand’s economy, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.
For the first time ever, New Zealand has broken the 3 million international visitors a year mark, hosting 3 million arrivals in the year to July 2015, government statistics released today show.
But even more importantly, international visitors are spending more than ever before. The estimates from the International Visitor Survey, for the year ended June, suggest that the average spend per international visitor is up by 19% and total spending is up by 28% on the previous year.
“These estimates show that the value of tourism is growing much faster than volume, which is the fundamental principle of Tourism 2025,” TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says. “The industry is aligned on its goal of maximising the spend of each and every visitor in order to reach the Tourism 2025 goal of growing total tourism revenue – domestic and international – to $41 billion a year.”
“In the last few weeks, TIA has been travelling around the country, meeting around 550 TIA members and other stakeholders during our Regional Tourism Summits.
“What really stood out for me was that, irrespective of sector or region, everyone was enjoying good business. 2014-15 was a great summer, autumn was strong – with real signs that seasonal dispersal is starting to happen – and all the indications are that we are heading towards another record summer.”
“With some other sectors of our economy not currently performing so well, tourism is increasingly becoming a vital part of regional economies and community vitality across the country.”
 The total spend figure in the IVS of $8.734 billion excludes spending by visitors 15 years and under, fee-paying students and international airfares. The official measurement of the value of international tourism is the Tourism Satellite Account, which is calculated by the Department of Statistics and released every October. The TSA released in October 2014 valued international tourism at $10.311 billion.