China's tourism lifeline – figures

New numbers show China is set to become New Zealand's second largest tourism market, with visitor spending in the year to June worth more than half a billion dollars.

Chinese visitors were worth more than half a billion dollars to the economy in the year to June.

New Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures show China is poised to become our second largest tourist market.

In the 12 months to June, visitor spending of $5.6 billion was flat, despite a 5% rise in the number of people visiting the country.

The ministry’s tourism, research and evaluation manager, Peter Ellis, says if it had not been for the rugby world cup there would have been a $200 million drop in total visitor spending.

But he says China remains the oustanding performer.

“Expenditure from Chinese visitors increased by 27% to $522 million. China is now our third-largest tourist market and just shy of the $568 million spent by visitors from the UK.

“China has already overtaken markets like Germany and the United States. It is now just a matter of time before it becomes our second-largest visitor market, behind Australia.”

The International Visitor Survey is based on interviews with 5200 tourists a year departing from New Zealand airports.

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