Tourism growth forecast to continue

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has welcomed new forecasts showing international visitor spending is expected to grow 40 per cent to $14.8 billion a year by 2024.

The New Zealand Tourism Forecasts 2018-2024 were released today by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“New Zealand’s tourism sector is forecast to grow steadily over the next seven years, reaching 5.1 million visitors annually by 2024, up 37 per cent from 2017,” Mr Davis says.

“We expect to see numbers climb fairly rapidly over the next two years, due to favourable economic conditions and better air connectivity, but over the longer term growth will be more moderate.

“Australia, China, the United States and the United Kingdom will likely remain key markets, though China is expected to overtake Australia as our largest market by spend, reaching $3.1 billion annually by 2024 (compared with $3.0 billion for Australia).

“However, Australia will remain our largest source of visitor arrivals, with a predicted 1.8 million visitors by 2024, compared with 800,000 for China.”

Mr Davis says a healthy tourism industry is great for New Zealand, though there is work to do to ensure the sustainability of the sector.

“Like the vast majority of Kiwis – 96 per cent – I know that tourism is a boon for New Zealand, creating jobs, supporting better transport links, boosting our regional economies and offering opportunities for Māori economic development through innovative Māori tourism ventures,” Mr Davis says.

“It is important that the Government, councils and industry work together to meet the challenges that accompany the forecast growth.”

To support the sector the Government has invested more than $35 million so far in tourism related projects through the Provincial Growth Fund, is investing up to $25 million each year over four years through the Tourism Infrastructure Fund, and is developing a levy to raise money from international visitors. The Government will be consulting with stakeholders before final decisions on the levy are made.

Mr Davis will be speaking at the annual TRENZ Conference in Dunedin on Thursday.

To view the Tourism Forecasts, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-research-data/international-tourism-forecasts