New Zealand’s inbound tourism arrivals slowed by nearly half in 2018, according to newly released data from Stats NZ, hinting the wave of momentum the country has surfed for the last four years has finally reached the shore.
Amid projections of further “soft” years to come, the latest full-year data showed international arrivals grew 3.5 per cent in 2018, which while still a positive result, was down from the mark of 6.7 per cent set a year earlier.
Most of New Zealand’s global markets slowed in 2018. The United Kingdom recorded a 4.9 per cent fall, with most industry opinions pointing the finger at Brexit and the potential market implications to come from it. The Chinese market grew 1.5 per cent however this was also a slowdown on the previous year. Despite better air connections between Australia and New Zealand aimed at facilitating greater access for Chinese visitors, results were yet to materialise.
TIANZ continues to work closely with local councils across New Zealand as well as the federal government and the industry itself to better plan for growth. Over 750 businesses are committed to the collaborative Tourism Sustainability Commitment, which is designed to foster industry best practice in economic, visitor, community and sustainability fields.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa CEO, Chris Roberts, said the rate of growth had been slowing since April last year.
“The attention of TIA and of industry leaders is firmly focused on ensuring the benefits that tourism brings to New Zealand communities are sustainable in the long-term. We want to ensure we can better ride out the cyclical ups and downs of the industry.
“Our focus remains firmly on growing value faster than volume. Since 2014, we have seen international arrivals increase by 35%. However, their spend has gone up much faster, by 54%. We are clearly getting better value per visitor and this trend must continue,” Roberts added.