25 Oct 2013

Record number of Chinese visitors

7:29 pm on 25 October 2013

A record number of Chinese visitors came to New Zealand last year, helping to push tourist spending up by half a billion dollars.

Statistics New Zealand says more than 210,000 Chinese visitors came here in the 12 months to March -

nearly a third more than came in the previous year - at a time when the overall number of international visitors actually dropped.

The chief executive of the Tourism Industry Association, Martin Snedden, says the market has changed dramatically in recent years and many tourism operators have been on a steep learning curve.

"It is quite different for operators to learn how to look after Chinese visitors as opposed to some visitors from traditional markets such as Germany and the UK."

Mr Snedden says while some adjustments have been made, there's still more to be done.

Both international and domestic tourists spent nearly $24 billion last year, an increase of 2.3% on the previous year.

Statistics New Zealand says direct tourism generated $7.3 billion for the economy, accounting for 3.7% of GDP.