As the record-breaking summer season gets into full swing, latest figures show that tourism has surpassed dairy and is once again New Zealand’s number one export earner.
Using the latest Statistics New Zealand data, TIA estimates the value of international tourism has reached $13.5 billion. The official measurement of the value of international tourism includes the estimated spend by all international visitors while here (excluding students studying for more than 12 months) plus airfares.
This puts the industry ahead of dairy, with Statistics New Zealand export data for the year ended September 2015 showing that annual dairy exports (milk powder, butter, cheese, casein and caseinates) totalled $13.0 billion.
TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says tourism and dairy have been far and away New Zealand’s leading export earners for a long time.
“Tourism was number one from the late nineties until 2010. Dairy then had its boom but is now experiencing a pullback.
“Both industries are vital to New Zealand’s economic wellbeing but with the recent dramatic growth in international visitor spend, we are pleased that tourism is having an increasingly important role.”
Mr Roberts says tourism is currently making the largest contribution to the Government’s Business Growth Agenda goal of increasing the value of total exports to 40% of GDP.
“The current upswing began in early 2013 and since then tourism export earnings have grown by over 40%.
“We have every reason to expect the upward trajectory to continue through 2016, particularly given the multitude of new air services being introduced, the lower New Zealand dollar, relatively cheap fuel prices and strong marketing campaigns. We look forward to working with the Government in the new year, to ensure tourism keeps growing sustainably.”
The tourism industry set itself a big goal with the Tourism 2025 growth framework – an industry worth $41 billion by 2025 – but as we head into 2016, it looks very achievable, Mr Roberts says.