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More tourists arrive in shoulder seasons

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/11/2016

Autumn is becoming an increasingly popular season for overseas tourists, who are also venturing outside the main centres, according to a report on travel patterns.

But there are opportunities to spread the benefits of tourism further, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment report says

The deputy chief executive of the ministry's labour, science and enterprise group, Paul Stocks, says summer continues to be busiest time.

But he says a rising number of tourists are visiting during the shoulder seasons.

"Visitor arrivals in the summer season are generally twice the number of the winter season, but the speed of growth over 2015 and 2016 has been the fastest in autumn," he said.

"This shows that work by government and the sector to spread visitors throughout the year is beginning to gain traction."

Mr Stocks said all areas in New Zealand had benefited to some degree from the strong growth in tourism over the past three years.

In Waikato and the West Coast, there was 16 per cent average growth in international visitor spending year-on-year, he said.

However, 65 per cent of tourist spending was concentrated in the "gateway" regions of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown in the June 2016 year.

Other points in the MBIE'S Regional and Seasonal Dispersal report:

* Germans spent the largest proportion of their money (53 per cent) in non-gateway regions in the June 2016 year, while Chinese spent the least (21 per cent);

* However, the sheer volume of their visitor numbers meant Chinese ($293 million) still spent more in dollar terms in non-gateway regions than Germans ($274m);

* Older travellers are more likely to travel in shoulder seasons, especially autumn;

* Peak season for Indian visitors is autumn, for Indonesians it's winter.

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