Chris RobertsTourism is contributing more than ever to New Zealand’s economic wellbeing, with the industry outstripping its own performance targets, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) said.

The Tourism Satellite Account released by Statistics New Zealand shows phenomenal growth in tourism, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts (pictured right) said.

Total tourism expenditure in the year to March 2015 was $29.8 billion, an increase of 10.3% on the previous year. International tourism expenditure increased 17.4% to $11.8 billion, while domestic tourism expenditure increased 6.3% to $18.1 billion. The strong growth is set to continue, with industry expecting a record-breaking summer.

The new figures show that one in eight New Zealanders are directly or indirectly employed in tourism, reinforcing that industry’s value to communities around the country. Tourism supports jobs in every part of New Zealand, often in areas where few other opportunities exist. TIA congratulates Statistics New Zealand on the changes it has made to improve the quality of the data in the TSA. TIA has put considerable effort into working more closely with the public sector to explore new and improved methods of data collection that in turn provides better insight to the tourism industry and its stakeholders.

“The challenge for the industry now is to manage the pressures created by the rapid growth in tourism. The TIA National Tourism Summit in Wellington on Thursday 19 November will explore these issues,” Roberts said.