18 Sep 2009

Backpacker operators cite the numbers

3:33 pm on 18 September 2009

Backpacker operators hope the sector's inaugural annual conference will turn it into an effective lobby group.

Overseas backpackers spent $578 million in New Zealand in the year to June.

According to the International Visitor Survey, 183,100 backpackers arrived in that time - a rise of 4%. This compares with an overall decline in arrivals of 2.8% to 2.4 million in the year to July.

While backpacking seems to be more resilient to economic conditions, NZBackpack.com chairman Daniel Shields says the industry has its challenges.

He says there is now a general understanding that backpackers are hugely important to the tourism sector and the economy.