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Five million tourists by 2023: MBIE

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/05/2017

Within six years nearly five million foreign tourists will visit New Zealand, according to government forecasts.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment predicts visitor numbers will rise from 3.5 million in 2016 to 4.9 million in 2023. Their corresponding spend will rise from $10 billion to $15b.

"The forecasts show that growth will be driven by Asian markets, particularly China, as well as established markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom," the ministry's Michael Bird said on Friday.

Australia is predicted to continue being the biggest source of tourists (1.8 million), but Chinese visitors may be the biggest spenders - with MBIE predicting one million of them will be spending $4.3b annually by 2023.

The body representing local councils says the country needs to spend about $1.4b on infrastructure to cope with the booming tourist numbers. This week the government said the May 25 budget would allocate $102 million over four years for tourism infrastructure.

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