International visitor arrival data released by Statistics New Zealand today shows 2014 was a record year, with arrivals up 5% to 2.86 million.
This outperformed the government forecast of 2.805 million arrivals for the year and continues the growth trend set in 2013 when international arrivals increased 6%.
“It’s great to see so much of the growth coming from holidaymakers, where arrivals grew by 6.9%, while people visiting family and friends grew 3.5%,” TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.
“On average holidaymakers spend almost $3700 each during their visit, so the growth in the holiday market means the additional 87,800 holidaymakers New Zealand attracted in 2014 added about $325 million to our economy.”
All of New Zealand’s most valuable visitor markets showed growth in 2014. Arrivals from our biggest market, Australia, grew 2.4%, while China was up 15.7%, USA 9.5%, UK 1.5% and Germany 13%.
New Zealand is also doing well in attracting visitors from some of the key emerging markets, in particular India, with visitor arrivals up 20.7%.
Mr Roberts says that under the Tourism 2025 growth framework, the tourism industry is focused on growing value faster than volume.
“The international arrival numbers in themselves are great news, but we have to remain focused on targeting value if we are to achieve the industry’s ambitious growth targets. In that regard, the recent strengthening of the US dollar should encourage a higher spend by many of our international visitors.”
The growth in arrivals seen in 2013 and 2014 is continuing into 2015, with January being very strong around the country and demand set to continue through February and March.
“We’re expecting a record Chinese New Year in addition to Cricket World Cup, as the tourism industry continues to strongly grow its contribution to our economy,” Mr Roberts says.