Spending by international visitors was down 6.5 per cent to $5,564 billion for the year ending June 2011, according to the Ministry of Economic Development’s International Visitor Survey released on Tuesday.
The research showed that spending by British and American tourists dropped by 18.4 per cent and 13.9 per cent respectively, while Australia was also down 5.8 per cent for the year.
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said the results, while disappointing reflected the challenges that a high currency and natural events have placed on tourism.
"Given the high New Zealand dollar, slow economic recovery in the US and Europe and the impact of natural events that have hit New Zealand, Japan and Australia hard, it’s not surprising that overall visitor spend has decreased for the year ending June 2011.
"On a positive note, the decrease is not considered as large as may have been anticipated and spending by visitors from China (up 12.4 per cent) and Korea (up 11.5 per cent) continue to show strong growth.
"Chinese visitor spending at $410 million is closing in on, and may soon overtake, the value of the US $443 million visitor economy."
The Ministry of Economic Development’s International Visitor Survey draws on a sample of 5,200 departing international visitors per year.