International tourists bring over $1b into economy

  • Spend from all international visitors totalled $1.03 billion in the September 2022 quarter
  • Holidaymakers spent $479 million
  • Visitors for friends or relatives spent $292 million
  • Tourism Electronic Card Transactions spend in 8 regions (out of 16) was higher than October 2019 levels pre-COVID

The release of the International Visitor Survey (IVS) July-September 2022, shows spend from all international visitors totalled $1.03 billion in the three months to September 30, 2022 with $626 million of that coming from Australian visitors.

“I’ve been confident that once New Zealand’s borders reopened, international tourists would return and spend throughout our regions and boost our economy. This survey shows that the world is still drawn to our fantastic country and international tourists are happy to pay for what New Zealand has to offer,” Stuart Nash said.

International tourists spent $200m more than international visitors coming to see friends or relatives, despite making up a similar volume of arrivals. The median international holidaymaker spent $2,800 over their entire visit, while those visiting friends or relatives spent $1,500. The median visitor for friends or relatives stayed for 11 days, while the median holidaymaker stayed for 8 days.

“After our support to the sector throughout COVID with the $400m Tourism Recovery Package, the $200m Tourism Communities Plan, and the $54m Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery, it’s brilliant to be seeing the recovery of the sector well on track and it speaks to the hard work of our tourist operators,” Stuart Nash said.

Regions are benefiting too from the return of international tourists. Tourism Electronic Card Transactions TECT spend in eight regions (out of sixteen) was higher than October 2019 levels pre-COVID.

Of all regions, international spend in Gisborne (up 47%) had the greatest increase followed by Hawke’s Bay (up 45%). International spend in Wellington, Waikato and Auckland were all at nearly 100% of pre-COVID October 2019 levels.

“Airline capacity also continues to increase and will average 70% of 2019 levels over summer. We had over 151,000 overseas visitor arrivals in September alone which is a real boost for our tourism sector.

“This injection to the economy is likely to increase as NZ welcomes more international visitors this summer,” said Stuart Nash.