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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 2010 are:

  • Total tourism expenditure was $22.4 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent from the previous year.
  • International tourism increased 1.6 percent ($149 million) to $9.5 billion and contributed 18.2 percent to New Zealand’s total exports of goods and services.
  • Domestic tourism expenditure was $12.9 billion, an increase of 2.5 percent from the previous year.
  • Tourism generated a direct contribution to GDP of $6.5 billion, or 3.8 percent of GDP.
  • The indirect value added of industries supporting tourism generated an additional $8.6 billion to tourism.
  • The tourism industry directly employed 92,900 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (or 4.9 percent of total employment in New Zealand), a decrease of 1.6 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 2010. It shows the value tourism adds to the New Zealand economy, to the GST received by government, and to the imports of goods and services.

Figure 1

Flow chart, Flows of tourism expenditure through the New Zealand economy, year ended March 2010.

Key results by topic for the year ended March 2010

Tourism expenditure

  • Total tourism expenditure increased 2.1 percent to $22.4 billion, the second lowest increase since the official tourism expenditure time series began in 1999 (see table 1).
  • Tourism expenditure generated $6.5 billion of direct value added, representing a 3.8 percent contribution to GDP. A further $8.6 billion of indirect value added activity was recorded (see table 1 and figure 2).

Table 1

Table, Tourism expenditure by component, year ended March 1999–2010.

Figure 2

Graph, Tourism expenditure by component, year ended March 2000–10.

  • Direct and indirect tourism value added, when combined, account for 67 cents for every dollar spent by tourists, while GST accounts 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 2010.

  • The main products purchased by tourists are 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 2010.

  • International tourism expenditure increased 1.6 percent while domestic tourism expenditure increased 2.5 percent (see table 2 and figure 5).

Table 2

Table, Tourism expenditure by type of tourist, year ended March 1999–2010.

Figure 5

Graph, Tourism expenditure by type of tourist, year ended March 2000–10.

Exports

  • International tourism continues to be a major export earner for New Zealand and compares favourably with other traditional export products (see table 3 and figure 6).
  • International tourism’s contribution to total exports, at $9.5 billion (18.2 percent of exports), is more than the export receipts from dairy products, including casein, which totalled $9.0 billion (17.1 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 March 2006–10.

Figure 6

Graph, International tourism expenditure compared with selected primary exports, year ended March 2006–10.

 

Employment

  • The tourism industry directly employed 92,900 FTE employees, a decrease of 1.6 percent from the previous year. This figure includes employment generated by foreign students studying in New Zealand for less than 12 months (see table 4).
  • Tourism activity directly generated 4.9 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 2001–10.

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 2007–10.

Table 5

Table, Overseas visitor arrivals, year ended March 2007–10.

  • International visitors increased 4.1 percent (98,383), following a decrease of 3.9 percent in the previous year. Visitor numbers from all international regions, with the exception of Oceania and Antarctica, decreased.
  • Visitors from Oceania (predominantly Australia) increased 12.2 percent (136,316) following a 1.7 percent (18,409) increase in the previous year. Visitor numbers from both Asia and Europe recorded their third consecutive year of negative growth.
  • Much of the increase in short-term arrivals to New Zealand stemmed from holiday/vacation and visiting friends/relatives purpose visits. These increased 5.5 percent (62,882) and 7.9 percent (58,394), respectively. Education/medical short-term arrivals also recorded a 4.3 percent increase.

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 are included in domestic travel expenditure, as well as off-trip purchases of tourism-specific consumer durable goods.

Tourism highlights for the years ended March 2007–10

The following is a summary of key influences on tourism in New Zealand over the period covered by the Tourism Satellite Account: 2010, in the March years 2007–10: 

  • Statistics New Zealand’s Accommodation Survey recorded 32.3 million guest nights spent in short-term commercial accommodation in the year ended March 2010, a 2.0 percent increase compared with the year ended March 2009. This follows 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 did not occur within the March 2010 and 2009 years, but occurred twice in the March 2008 year and once in the March 2007 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 from the March 2009 year.
  • Swine flu, or the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, caused instability in the international travel environment in the March 2010 year.
  • More than 60 films and telefeatures were filmed completely, or in part, in New Zealand between the March years of 2007–10.
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