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Photo: Malcolm O'Neill, Hiking New Zealand.

Tourism's growing importance to NZ

New balance of payments and current account figures released this week by Statistics NZ reinforce the growing importance of tourism to the New Zealand economy.

17 March 2016


The figures show that international visitors were worth $12.8 billion in the 2015 calendar year – a huge increase of $2.6 billion on 2014.

The way this number has been calculated is a little different to the official annual measurement of tourism, the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which comes out each October. The differences are in the way airline ticket sales and visiting students are treated.

TIA has calculated that the TSA-equivalent number for the year ended December 2015 is $13.9 billion. Add that to the most recent value put on domestic tourism - $18.1 billion – and we have a total tourism industry worth at least $32 billion pa. That puts us well on the way to achieving the Tourism 2025 goal of annual tourism earnings of $41 billion.