Visitors to New Zealand set to grow by almost 40% in next seven years

by Ray Clancy on May 12, 2017

More people than ever before are expected to visit New Zealand over the next seven years, which could also see the country’s expat population rise as those who fall in love with the nation seek to move permanently.

Visitor arrivals are projected to real 4.9 million annually by 2023, a rise of 39% from the 3.5 million visitors who arrived in 2016, according to the latest figures from the New Zealand Tourism Forecast report 2017 to 2023.

(Brians Photos/

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which published the data, it shows the real value of tourism for the New Zealand economy.

‘The figures released confirm that New Zealand’s tourism sector is in good shape. The Government is focused on helping the tourism sector attract visitors who bring value to our communities, those who spend more, stay longer and explore regions around New Zealand, as well as the main tourist spots,’ said Tourism Minister Paula Bennett.

The figures also forecast that visitors will spend more. It is expected to grow by 9% by 2023, but some are likely to spend more. For example, Chinese visitors, the country’s second largest group of visitors, are set to spend 17% more.

Overall, international visitor spending is forecast to exceed $15 billion annually by 2023, up 52% from the annual visitor spending of $10 billion recorded in 2016, a growth rate of over 6% per annum.

‘The figures confirm the importance of China to our tourism industry; with China set to become our largest tourist market by spend. Chinese visitor spending will add $4.3 billion annually to our economy by 2023,’ Bennett pointed out.

She explained that tourism is already the country’s biggest export earner and directly employs over 180,000 people. ‘With this strong growth, we must continue to ensure that our regions have the infrastructure and ability to meet the pressures that tourism brings,’ she added.

Indeed, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Bennett have just announced a $178 million tourism package that will help councils facing funding restraints to build the infrastructure they need and also enable the development of tourist facilities on conservation land and the expansion of the Great Walks network.

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