Foreign tourists to spend $15 billion by 2025

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) expects moderate growth in the number of international visitors to New Zealand to drive an increase in spending over the six years to 2025.

The MBIE expects total international spend (excluding international airfares and education) to reach $15 billion in 2025, up 34 per cent from 2018, when it was $11.2 billion.

This will be driven by a steady increase in the number of international tourists coming to New Zealand, with 5.1 million visitors expected in 2025, up from 3.9 million in 2018.

Australia is the top visitor market, providing 1.5 million visitors in 2018, and is expected to remain so over the forecast period. The number of Aussies crossing the ditch is expected to grow at an average rate of 2.5 per cent a year over the next six years.

In the short term, however, the MBIE is predicting a strong uptick in the number of tourists from the US and China, thanks to available seat capacity and rising fuel costs, which affect ticket prices and demand.

Spending is expected to grow at a sightly faster rate than visitor numbers, the MBIE said, suggesting that spend per visitor will increase over the forecast period.


While Australia is currently also the largest spending market, Chinese spending will reduce the gap by 2025.

Tourism New Zealand recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese internet giant Tencent, which will see the tech company provide insights into Chinese tourists’ consumption habits and preferences based on data from its social media platform WeChat.

The tourism board and Tencent will also work with local stakeholders, including businesses, to help them better reach and serve the Chinese tourist market.

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