Tourist spend holds steady

By | May 11, 2009

8 May 2009

Source: stuff.co.nz

Fewer tourists visited New Zealand in the year to March, but total tourist spending held firm according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism.

Tourists spent $6.1 billion, down just 0.1 percent compared with the same period last year.  This is despite there being 96,000 fewer tourists, or 3.9 percent fewer than last year.

Tourism ministry research manager Bruce Bassett said the results were positive in the face of challenging times.

He credited the bigger spend by tourists to a more favourable exchange rate.

Spending from visitors from the three biggest markets was down, with Australian spending $1.6 billion, 4.1 percent less than last year.  Visiting Britons spent $916 million, down 3.8 percent while those from the US spent $612 million, down 2.2 percent.

However, visitors from China and Japan spent significantly more than in the past, up 11.6 percent and 12.3 percent respectively.  Spending from both countries totalled $779 million.

Bassett said while it was unclear how international visitor demand would continue over the short term, the sector was demonstrating resilience and a real ability to adapt to the challenging conditions.