Summer with international tourists off to a strong start

  • Around 145,250 overseas visitors arrived in the four weeks to 26 October
  • Over 10,000 Working Holiday Visa holders have now arrived in New Zealand
  • International card spend at 88% of pre-COVID levels (from 26 August to 22 September 2019) in the four weeks to 25 September (i.e. 29 August to 25 September 2022)
  • Economic boost from cruise season expected to be between $350 to $510 million
  • Around 19% of total bed nights booked for 2022/23 Great Walks are from international visitors

New Zealand is set for a strong summer season as the tourism sector continues its recovery, with overseas visitor arrivals and card spend tracking towards pre-pandemic levels, Stuart Nash said today.

“It’s wonderful to welcome international visitors to our beautiful country to enjoy our hospitality and the world class attractions on offer over summer. The numbers are showing that the demand for New Zealand is still there from international tourists.

“It’s been a tough time for our tourism sector throughout the pandemic, but I’ve said repeatedly that the commitment and dedication of the incredible people in the sector means we will come out of these past two years stronger and ready to embrace a forward thinking, sustainable tourism sector.

“Our Government has supported the tourism sector throughout the pandemic, working with the industry to respond to the challenges of the past two years. This included the $400m Tourism Recovery Package, the $200m Tourism Communities Plan, and the $54m Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery.

“I know this increase in visitors will put extra pressure on tourism and hospitality workers to deliver a world-class experience. In September we announced $2 million to Go with Tourism which is a unique approach to addressing labour supply issues in the tourism and hospitality sector that holds career expos and secondary-school education programmes across the country, promoting careers in the industry,” said Stuart Nash.

August 2022 is the first month in nearly two and half years where a holiday has been the most popular reason for travel by overseas visitors, replacing ‘visiting friends and relatives’ which had dominated the reason for travel from April 2020.

“It is also fantastic to see cruises also return to ports all around New Zealand. Over 40 cruise vessels are expected for the 2022-2023 cruise ship season, bringing an estimated 150 – 200,000 visitors to our shores across our regions”

“Our Great Walks have seen around 19% of bookings made by international visitors, bringing yet more visitors to our regions to see our stunning natural beauty and experience regional kiwi hospitality. Places on Milford Track were fully reserved in a record 3 minutes when bookings opened earlier this year.

“New Zealand has the opportunity and the capability to become the most innovative and future focused tourism destination in the world. I’m really excited about what this summer will bring,” said Stuart Nash.