The tourism sector is continuing to strengthen to close to pre-pandemic levels, according to latest data and estimates, Tourism Minister, Peeni Henare said today.
Figures released today show 221,300 overseas visitor arrivals in April 2023. While airline booking and capacity data estimate over 600,000 visitors are expected to arrive this winter.
“This is great news for the hundred thousand Kiwis directly employed in tourism and their communities around Aotearoa New Zealand who rely on the industry for local jobs and economic growth,” Mr Henare said.
“This rebound complements the Government’s investment in regional infrastructure while the borders were closed, which is enabling a strong post-pandemic recovery.”
International visitors spent $3.2 billion into New Zealand in the first quarter of 2023, up from $1.8 billion in the December quarter. This $3.2 billion makes international tourism the second highest export this quarter behind dairy exports (milk powder, butter, and cheese – $5.2 billion).
The increase in spending by international visitors reflects the larger flow of international visitors for the peak summer holiday season, as well as an increase in holidaymakers who spend more per day ($310 per day) than the average visitor ($210 per day).
Visitor numbers are also buoyed by the increase in flight capacity. Australian visitors remain the largest single market, spending $1 billion, followed by USA visitors ($518 million) and UK visitors ($383 million).
In addition, electronic card spending data shows international visitors spent $328 million in April 2023, up 25 per cent compared with April 2019 ($264 million).
“Using forward airline booking and capacity data, we estimate over 600,000 international visitor arrivals this winter (June to August 2023), more than 83% of arrivals than in winter 2019. We also expect visitors from Australia to approach around 90% (over 300,000 arrivals) this winter compared to pre-COVID levels (345,000 in 2019).”
“The Government’s priority has been to support the tourism sector to recover and to ensure a future for the industry that is sustainable.
“To support the tourism industry, the Government has invested $18.22 million in Budget 2023 to implement the Better Work phase of the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan – a joint initiative between government, industry, iwi and unions.
“This will help to implement initiatives like a hospitality and tourism accreditation scheme, as well as investments in better education and training, and improved opportunities for those who choose tourism as a career,” Mr Henare said.