International visitor-spending reached a record high of $10.6 billion in the year to December 2017.
The latest International Visitor Survey results from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment showed expenditure increased 5% compared with the year ended December 2016.
It is great to see this continual steady growth, largely driven by increasing numbers of visitors from the United States of America.
US expenditure is up 18% over the year (to $1.3 billion) and this is probably thanks to the start of direct flights between Houston and Auckland.
Australia and China remain our biggest markets, however, with Australians spending $2.6 billion in the year to December and Chinese spending $1.5 billion.
Diversity is the key
It is good to see New Zealand appeals to such a diversity of markets.
This bodes well for the continued strength of the tourism industry over the longer term.
Visitor numbers are predicted to continue rising over the next five years.
The Government is focused on managing growing visitor numbers – implementing educational campaigns for visiting drivers, developing new Great Walks, only promoting New Zealand outside the peak summer season, and so on.
I recently announced investment of more than $14 million for tourism infrastructure and I will be meeting with mayors in the next couple of weeks to seek a collaborative way forward on freedom camping.
I know there are challenges for tourism. I also know that these challenges are not unsolvable, and there is plenty of work going on to ensure the sustainability of the industry.
For more information on the International Visitor Survey, visit: www.mbie.govt.nz
Infographic supplied by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Government of New Zealand.