Quick Facts & Figures

Tourism by the numbers

Key tourism stats for year to March 2021

Total tourism:

  • total tourism expenditure was $26.1 billion, a decrease of 37.3 percent ($15.6 billion) from the previous year
  • tourism generated a direct contribution to GDP of $8.5 billion, or 2.9 percent, a decrease of 47.5 percent ($7.7 billion), or 2.6 percentage points


  • the number of people attributed to being directly employed in tourism was 146,295 – a decrease of 33.1 percent (72,285 people)
  • the number of tourism employees was 126,204 – a decrease of 34.2 percent (65,550)
  • the number of tourism working proprietors was 20,091 – a decrease of 25.1 percent (6,738)
  • Tourism directly employed 5.2 percent of the total number of people employed in New Zealand, a decrease of 2.7 percentage points from the previous year.

International tourism:

  • international tourism expenditure decreased 91.5 percent ($16.2 billion) to $1.5 billion
  • international tourism’s overall contribution to New Zealand’s total exports of goods and services fell to 2.1 percent from 20.0 percent
  • GST generated from international tourists totalled $165 million, a decrease of $1.7 billion

Domestic tourism:

  • domestic tourism expenditure increased 2.6 percent ($622 million) to $24.6 billion.

The TSA shows a $15 billion decline in tourism spend in the year to March 2021, and the loss of more than 72,000 jobs.

Domestic tourism spend increased slightly, but international visitor spend plummeted by 92%.

Total spend was $26.1 billion, down from $41.7 billion the year before.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism made a huge contribution to the New Zealand economy

  • Total annual tourism expenditure was $41.9 billion  $115 million per day. 
  • Annual international tourism expenditure was $17.5 billion – $48 million per day. 
  • Annual domestic tourism expenditure was $24.4 billion – $67 million per day. 
  • Total annual tourism expenditure had increased by almost $15 billion, or 55%, in the past seven years. 
  • Tourism was New Zealand’s biggest export industry, contributing 20.1% of total exports. 
  • Tourism generated a direct annual contribution to GDP of $16.4 billion, or 5.5%, and a further indirect contribution of $11.3 billion, another 3.8% of New Zealand’s total GDP.  
  • 225,384 people are directly and another 158,802 indirectly employed in tourism in New Zealand – 13.6% of the total number of people employed in New Zealand. 
  • The annual GST paid by tourists is $3.9 billion, including $1.8 billion collected from international visitors.  

Source: Statistics NZ Tourism Satellite Account year ended March 2019 (issued December 2020). 

Other Data Sources

International Travel, Stats NZ

Monthly international travel updates cover the number and characteristics of overseas visitors, and New Zealand resident travellers (short-term movements) entering or leaving New Zealand.

International Visitor Survey (IVS), MBIE

Estimated annual spend by market, survey based, released quarterly. Does not include Air New Zealand fares or short stay students. Estimates by market can fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter.

Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates (MRTEs), MBIE

Estimated regional spend by domestic and international markets, electronic transactions based, released monthly. Does not include Air New Zealand fares and other spending captured in the Tourism Satellite Account. Monthly estimates by region can fluctuate; annual estimates have a higher degree of certainty.

Accommodation Data Programme, MBIE

The Accommodation Data Programme (ADP) provides information about short-term accommodation activity at national, regional and lower levels. It estimates the guest nights, occupancy rates and other measures relating to the accommodation industry.