New Zealand

Tourism boosts New Zealand’s economy by $10 billion

The latest annual Tourism Satellite Account shows tourists returning to New Zealand

The latest annual Tourism Satellite Account shows 2023’s total tourism expenditure was NZD$37.8 billion (around AUD$37 billion), up 39.6 percent or $NZD10.7 billion on the previous year.

The data positions tourism as New Zealand’s second-largest export earner. Before the pandemic, tourism was the country’s largest export.

To March 2023, NZ welcomed 2.2 million international arrivals with its top visitors from Australia, the US and China. The median length of stay for holiday visitors was 10 days.

Read the summer print edition of AccomNews HERE

The data also shows an additional 6786 tourism operators are back and operating post-pandemic.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Rebecca Ingram said that while the data is historic, it still provided important data.

“These figures are historic but what they show is that tourism operators did an amazing job to get up and running after our borders fully opened and as international visitors returned, they were contributing billions of dollars to our economy,” Ms Ingram said.

“While this data gives us a read on last summer, anecdotal feedback from tourism operators this summer is very positive, tourism businesses are buoyant, and the signs are that we can look forward to contributing even more strongly to the country’s economic wellbeing when this data is published again.”

She also acknowledged the underpinning support of domestic tourism, which spent $26.9b in the year to March 2023 – above pre-Covid levels.

“This reinforces the importance of our New Zealand visitors, who continued to do something new after borders opened,” Ms Ingram said.

According to the Satellite Account, tourism is one of the country’s largest employers. Directly and indirectly, tourism supported 317,514 jobs in March 2023, “which means even at that time, tourism was supporting 11.3 per cent of the country’s entire jobs market,” she added.

Ms Ingram noted that the Satellite Account was normally published in December and urged the government to prioritise this and other core tourism data.

“For tourism in New Zealand to develop sustainably, we need fundamental information about our performance, this ensures we can manage our industry well,’’ she said.

“The TSA’s data is vital for understanding tourism. It informs both the public and private sectors and underpins decision-making. The data available for tourism must be improved so we understand the current state of the industry much more deeply than we are currently do.”

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