Reading time
15 mins
June 05, 2019

The Changing Pattern of International Tourism in NZ

How the international visitor market changed between 2008 and 2018.

It is widely known that tourism is one of New Zealand’s most important export industries. In 2018, almost 4 million international visitors arrived, and they spent a total of more than $11 billion while they were here.

This report examines how the international tourism industry has grown and changed during the past 10 years. 

Some of the findings are familiar.  For example, Australia is the industry’s most important market, but the Chinese market is the most rapidly growing.

And some of the findings are surprising.  For example, New Zealand citizens coming home for visits are actually the second largest market, in terms of numbers. Also, the fastest growing market segments, in terms of age, are visitors aged less than 10 years old and visitors aged 70 years and over.

The report highlights that tourism has been a success economically, but it also warns that the industry can be volatile, and that established markets can decline. More positively, it identifies a group of countries in South and East Asia that have been growing very rapidly, and which have great potential as markets.