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Tourists splash out $3.8 billion more

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/10/2016

Foreign and domestic tourists dipping into their wallets led to a record $3.8 billion increase in tourism spending in New Zealand during the past year.

Releasing its annual tourism report, Statistics New Zealand said spending by international visitors accounted for 20.7 per cent of the country's total goods and services exports.

The $14.5b spent by foreign visitors came as as domestic tourists also splashed out $20.2b last year for a 7.4 per cent increase.

National accounts senior manager Daniel Griffiths said spending was up because more tourists were arriving in the country.

"Increasing visitor numbers from across key international markets, (came) on the back of expanding airline and cruise capacity," he said.

With tourism now contributing $12.9b to New Zealand's gross domestic product, lobby group Tourism Industry Aotearoa has called on the government to invest more into the industry.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said the government drew broader benefits from tourism than just its $2.8b income from the goods and services tax.

These included increased income from its petrol tax and income taxes paid by the almost 200,000 people employed in tourism businesses.

He said while the government promoted the industry through Tourism New Zealand, it could still do more.

"No matter how you calculate it, the government's income from international visitors is many, many times greater than the costs incurred in attracting and looking after them," Mr Roberts said.

"Nobody is making more money from the tourism boom than (Finance Minister) Bill English and Treasury."

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