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Summary results

Tourism plays a significant role in the New Zealand economy in terms of the production of goods and services and the creation of employment opportunities. Tourism expenditure includes spending by all travellers, whether they are international, resident householders, or business and government travellers. International tourism expenditure includes spending by foreign students studying in New Zealand for less than 12 months.

Key results for the year ended March 2011 are:

  • Total tourism expenditure was $23.0 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent from the previous year.
  • International tourism expenditure increased 1.5 percent ($147 million) to $9.7 billion and contributed 16.8 percent to New Zealand’s total exports of goods and services.
  • Domestic tourism expenditure was $13.2 billion, an increase of 2.5 percent from the previous year.
  • Tourism generated a direct contribution to GDP of $6.9 billion, or 3.8 percent of GDP.
  • The indirect value added of industries supporting tourism generated an additional $8.8 billion to tourism.
  • The tourism industry directly employed 91,900 full-time equivalents (FTEs) (or 4.8 percent of total employment in New Zealand), an increase of 0.6 percent from the previous year.
  • Tourists generated $1.7 billion in goods and services tax (GST) revenue.

Figure 1 traces the flows of tourism expenditure through the New Zealand economy for the year ended March 2011. It shows the value tourism adds to the New Zealand economy, both directly and indirectly, the GST received by government, the imports of goods and services, and direct and indirect employment.

Figure 1

 Flowchart, Flows of tourism expenditure through the New Zealand economy, year ended March 2011.

Key results by topic for the year ended March 2011

Tourism expenditure

  • Total tourism expenditure increased 2.1 percent to $23.0 billion, the second-lowest increase since the official tourism expenditure time series began in 1999 (see table 1).
  • Tourism expenditure generated $6.9 billion of direct value added, representing a 3.8 percent contribution to GDP. A further $8.8 billion of indirect value added activity was recorded (see table 1 and figure 2).

Table 1

 Table, Summary of tourism expenditure components, year ended March 1999 to 2011.

Figure 2

 Graph, Tourism expenditure by component, year ended March 2001 to 2011.

  • Direct and indirect tourism value added, when combined, accounted for 68 cents for every dollar spent by tourists, while GST accounted for 7 cents for every dollar spent by tourists. The remainder represents imports (see figure 3).

Figure 3

 Graph, Share of tourism expenditure by component, year ended March 2011.

  • The main products purchased by tourists were retail goods (including fuel and other automotive products) and air passenger transport, contributing 31 percent and 19 percent, respectively (before GST). Tourists spent 12 percent of their budget on food and beverage serving services and 9 percent on accommodation (see figure 4).

Figure 4

 Graph, Share of tourism expenditure by type of product, year ended March 2011.

  • International tourism expenditure increased 1.5 percent while domestic tourism expenditure increased 2.5 percent (see table 2 and figure 5).

Table 2

 Table, Summary of tourism expenditure by type of tourist, year ended March 1999 to 2011.

Figure 5

 Graph, Tourism expenditure by type of tourist, year ended March 2001 to 2011.

Exports

  • International tourism continued to be a major export earner for New Zealand and compared favourably with other traditional export products (see table 3 and figure 6).
  • International tourism’s contribution to total exports, at $9.7 billion (16.8 percent of exports), was less than the export receipts from dairy products, including casein, which totalled $11.6 billion (19.9 percent of exports).

Note that international tourism is compared against primary exports in figure 6.

Table 3

 Table, International tourism expenditure compared with selected primary exports, year ended 2008 to 2011.

Figure 6

 Graph, International tourism expenditure compared with selected primary exports, year ended March 2008 to 2011.

Employment

  • The tourism industry directly employed 91,900 full-time equivalents (FTEs), an increase of 0.6 percent from the previous year (see table 4).
  • Tourism activity directly generated 4.8 percent of total employment in New Zealand (see table 4). This compares with tourism generating 3.8 percent of direct value added to GDP. The fact that tourism contributes more to total employment than it does to direct value added reflects a higher level of labour intensity in tourism industries.

Table 4

 Table, Tourism employment, year ended March 2001 to 2011.

Overseas visitor arrivals

Table 5 presents the breakdown of international visitors by region of last permanent residence and by purpose of visit for the years ended March 2008–11.

Table 5

 Table, Overseas visitor arrivals, year ended March 2008 to 2011.

  • International visitors increased 0.3 percent (7,537), following an increase of 4.1 percent in the previous year. Visitor numbers from Europe, the Americas, and Oceania and Antarctica decreased, while visitor numbers from Asia and the ‘other’ visitor category increased.
  • Visitors from Asia (predominantly China) increased 12.6 percent (50,968), following a 7.2 percent decrease in the previous year. The number of visitors from Europe decreased for the fourth consecutive year, and the number of visitors from the Americas decreased for the third consecutive year. 
  •  Much of the increase in short-term arrivals to New Zealand stemmed from conference/convention (up 10,664 or 22.1 percent), other purpose (up 16,434 or 11.2 percent), and business visits (up 13,123 or 5.6 percent). Education/medical short-term arrivals also recorded a 0.9 percent increase.
  • The two key categories, holiday/vacation and visit friends/relatives, decreased 1.1 and 2.4 percent respectively, following strong growth in the previous year.

In the context of the TSA, the term ‘tourist’ includes travellers who might not usually be associated with the term. For instance, in addition to holiday and leisure travel, it covers other activities of visitors, such as conducting business, attending meetings and conferences, and arriving for short-term education. Domestic costs incurred by New Zealanders travelling overseas (such as resident travel agency commissions) are included in domestic travel expenditure, as well as off-trip purchases of tourism-specific consumer durable goods (such as sleeping bags).

Tourism facts for the years ended March 2008–11

The following is a summary of key facts on tourism in New Zealand in the March years 2008–11:

  • Statistics New Zealand’s Accommodation Survey recorded 31.9 million guest nights spent in short-term commercial accommodation in the year ended March 2011, a 1.3 percent decrease compared with the year ended March 2010. This follows an increase of 2.0 percent in the year ended March 2010, a decrease of 3.7 percent in the year ended March 2009 and an increase of 3.5 percent in the year ended March 2008.
  • The Easter holidays fell within the year ended March 2011 and 2010, did not fall within the March 2009 year, but occurred twice in the March 2008 year.
  • Cheap trans-Tasman airfares and a strong New Zealand dollar have continued the strong growth in the number of New Zealanders holidaying in Australia and other overseas destinations.
  • Annual visitor arrivals from Australia exceeded 1 million for the first time in 2009.
  • The global financial crisis contributed to a decline in economic activity, including that of tourism in the March 2009 year and overall economic activity in the March 2010 year.
  • Swine flu, or the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, caused instability in the international travel environment in the March 2010 year.
  • More than 45 films and telefeatures were filmed completely, or in part, in New Zealand between the March years of 2008–11.
  • Pacific Blue exited the domestic aviation market in the March 2011 year. Jetstar introduced low-cost flights between Singapore and New Zealand beginning March 2011.
  • GST increased 12.5 percent to 15.0 percent on October 1, 2010.
  • A damaging earthquake struck the Canterbury region in September 2010, followed by a devastating earthquake in February 2011 in Christchurch. Tourism Satellite Account: 2011 incorporates the expenditure implications/impacts up until the March year end reference period only, but does not separately identify the impact of the earthquakes.
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