China now NZ’s second largest tourist market

Press Release – Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
China has jumped to become New Zealand’s second largest tourist market, recording a 37 percent increase in expenditure over the last year.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s quarterly International Visitor Survey, released today, shows Chinese visitors spent $555 million in the year to September 2012, which for the first time puts them ahead of the United Kingdom (spending $545 million), but still well behind our largest tourist market Australia (spending $1.7 billion).

The Ministry’s Tourism Research and Evaluation Manager Peter Ellis says the ongoing growth in Chinese visitors is a significant change which will have major implications for our tourism industry.

“In the last three years China has overtaken Japan, the United States and now the UK tourist markets to become our second largest tourism market, as we forecast 14 months ago would happen around this time. The number of visitors from China has increased by 37 percent in the last year alone, and just as importantly, the amount they spend while here has also risen by 37 percent.

“The Chinese tend to have shorter trips to New Zealand than visitors from other countries, and their experience of New Zealand tends to be focussed on Auckland and Rotorua, although Queenstown has been growing in importance in recent years.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is working with relevant agencies and tourism industry stakeholders on a China Market Review. The aim is to identify actions to improve the quality of experiences for Chinese visitors and maximise the potential of this surge in tourism.”

Overall, the International Visitor Survey showed that total visitor spend had decreased by two percent, despite an increase in arrivals numbers of two percent. This is due in large part to a change in the visitor mix, with visits to friends and family increasing from 33 to 35 percent of the total.

The International Visitor Survey is based on interviews of 5,200 tourists per year departing from New Zealand airports.

See the full survey results at: http://www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-research-data/international-visitor-survey

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