WELLINGTON, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- A leap in spending by Chinese tourists has helped curb a decline in total spending by overseas visitors to New Zealand to just 6 percent last year, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) announced Tuesday.
Tourism research and evaluation manager Peter Ellis said spending by international visitors last year was the lowest since 2001 and indicated a return to a decline that began before New Zealand hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
"The drop in spending over the past year can be partly attributed to a 2-percent drop in visitor numbers over the same period. The drop also reflects global economic conditions and the strong New Zealand dollar," Ellis said in a statement.
"The most significant aspects of the drop in spending are a decrease in UK visitors' spend, and in the total amount that holiday visitors are spending," he said.
"On the other hand, spend by Chinese visitors has increased by 42 percent, exceeding our forecasts."
The government's Tourism New Zealand agency said it would continue to focus on increasing spending, particularly in the China market.
"The current economic situation in Europe, and New Zealand's high exchange rate, has understandably impacted on long-haul arrivals and level of spend, with expenditure from the UK down 21 percent and the United States down 7 percent," chief executive Kevin Bowler said in a statement.
Total spend by international arrivals last year was 5.42 billion NZ dollars (4.57 billion U.S. dollars).
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