Visitors To New Zealand Spending More Money

  • Murray McCully

International visitor arrivals to New Zealand may be down, but the latest international visitor expenditure statistics show many of those who are visiting are spending more.

Tourism Minister Hon Murray McCully said the results, which were released this week, are extremely encouraging.

"Despite the downturn in visitors from Asia, our overall performance has been underpinned by our greater focus on quality rather than quantity. This has been our focus for the past year and it is pleasing that we are being cushioned from the worst impact of the Asian downturn," said Mr McCully.

"Earnings are only slightly down on the level prior to the Asian economic crisis, from significantly lower number of arrivals."

Results for the year ending September 1998 show international visitor expenditure is down 2.6 per cent compared with the same time last year. This is at a time when international visitor arrivals are down 5.2 per cent for the same period.

"The key drivers from this encouraging expenditure result are the Australian, American and UK markets," said Mr McCully.

There has been an 8.6 per cent increase in the total foreign exchange earnings from the UK. Spend per visit and spend per day from UK visitors for the year ending September 1998 has also increased, up 5.2 per cent and 17.2 per cent respectively.

Visitors from the USA have also been spending more per day and more per visit for three consecutive quarters.

"This increase in spending, combined with a 7.4 per cent increase in the number of visitor arrivals shows our marketing initiatives and positioning of New Zealand in the USA market is producing results," said Mr McCully.

The Japanese market has also significantly improved with a 15 per cent increase in earnings for the year ending September 1998 compared with September 1997.

An 8.7 per cent increase in visitor arrivals from Australia has produced a modest increase in earnings, while visitor spend per visit and spend per day has remained static.