WELLINGTON—Visitors from China and the United States boosted tourism spending in New Zealand by 17.1 percent to a record 11.8 billion NZ dollars (7.95 billion U.S. dollars) in the year to the end of March, the government statistics agency said Tuesday.
“Increasing visitor numbers from China and the United States drove the increase in spending by international tourists,” Statistics New Zealand national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said in a statement.
“This is the highest level of international tourism expenditure since these statistics began in 1999.”
Tourism generated a direct contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) of 10.6 billion NZ dollars (7.14 billion U.S. dollars), or 4.9 percent of GDP, and directly employed 168,012 people, or 6.9 percent of the total number of people in work.
Tourism Industry Association New Zealand chief executive Chris Roberts said tourism spending was rising ahead of projections and the strong growth was expected to continue.
Tourist spending accounted for 17.4 percent of New Zealand’s total exports, up from 15 percent year on year, Roberts said in a statement.
“International visitor arrivals recently surpassed 3 million a year, but more importantly, there’s been strong double digit growth in spend by those visitors,” said Roberts.