Tourism is a major industry in New Zealand, as the nation's top export earner and a key driver of business and community investment. According to Tourism New Zealand, the value of international tourism is more than $16 billion per year, with this figure set to rise even more over coming seasons. New figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) paint an optimistic picture for the tourism sector, with visitors expected to grow by 4 percent a year in the lead up to 2025.
According to MBIE, visitors to New Zealand are set to top the 5 million mark by 2025, which is a faster rate than expected in previous estimates. MBIE has a more conservative estimate than Tourism New Zealand in terms of dollars spent, with $11.2 billion spent last year and $15 billion estimated by 2025. While there was initially some concern that the Christchurch terror attack would impact visitor numbers, this horrific event is unlikely to have a long-term impact according to MBIE.
The detailed MBIE analysis of the tourism market looked at visitor numbers, spending figures, trip details, and country of origin among other things. There were 3,863 visitors in 2018, with this number expected to rise to 5,000 in 2025. The average spend per person per day was $195, and the average length of stay was 18 days. Both of these figures are expected to rise slightly by 2025, at $203 and 19 days respectively. "Spend growth is forecast to grow at slightly higher than the growth of visitor numbers, suggesting that spend per visitor will increase." said MBIE.
As you might expect, Australia is expected to remain the biggest source of visitors and spending in the lead up to 2025, with geographical proximity between the two nations lowering the barrier of entry. China is second in terms of visitor arrivals, followed by the US, UK, Korea, Germany, Japan, and Canada. While this order is unlikely to change between now and 2025, we may see a slight decline in visitor numbers from Japan.
According to MBIE, "Australia is currently the largest market by spend, and will remain although Chinese spend will reduce the gap by 2025." Australian visitors are forecast to be spending $223 a day by 2025, which works out to be $3,000 per trip. Chinese tourists are forecast to spend almost as much as Aussies by 2025, and much more on a daily basis at $342 per day. Limited vacation opportunities and long distances are a challenge for many Chinese tourists, as is the cost of a New Zealand holiday compared to many other countries.
Getting to New Zealand is the biggest expense for many people, with available seat capacity and fuel costs likely to influence visitor numbers over the next few years. Macroeconomic drivers will also affect the accuracy of these forecasts, including projected exchange rates, oil prices, the global economy, and the domestic economies of key visitor markets.
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