International Visitor Survey - September 2019

The International Visitor Survey (IVS) measures the expenditure, characteristics and behaviours of international visitors to New Zealand. The IVS for the year ended September 2019 is now available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website.

For the year ended September 2019, total spending of international visitors was $11.3 billion, up from $11.1 billion in the year ended September 2018 (up two per cent, but not statistically significant).
For our main markets, Australia grew five per cent to $2.67 billion, the USA grew 15 per cent to $1.42 billion, and Japan grew three per cent to $271 million, while the UK expenditure has not changed ($953 million). 
Spending for holidaymakers was largely unchanged over the year, at $7.1 billion.  
Additional analysis of the IVS will be released in the next Quarterly Tourism Report published in December. 

Chinese visitor market

We would caution the use of the Chinese expenditure estimates this quarter at this point in time.

On the face of it, there is a 12% rise in expenditure in Chinese visitors, and a 20% rise in average expenditure per Chinese visitor. This is in contrast to the results from the Stats NZ's International Travel statistics which shows a decline in Chinese visitor arrivals of 9% over the same period.   

We have ongoing issues with estimating Chinese expenditure, which has affected the results for the year ended September 2019: 

There is a higher-than-expected Chinese expenditure in the September 2019 quarter. This quarter had a low sample size, which reduces confidence in the results; 
There was a particularly low spend estimate in the September 2018 quarter. 

For the September 2019 quarter, the sample size for visitors from China was smaller compared to previous quarters. The IVS data is collected through a voluntary survey that visitors are encouraged to complete. The quality of the data relies in getting an appropriate sample size for the segment we're measuring.  We're working with our service provider to investigate the reasons for the low sample size, and how to ensure better response rates in the future.


The IVS data is presented as an annual figure that takes into account results from the last four quarters. Given that the lower-spend September 2018 quarter is no longer included in the annual result for the year ended September 2019, this has led to a corresponding rise in Chinese spend. 

Both these factors have an impact on the year ended September 2019 expenditure estimate for China. The reasons and potential solutions are being further investigated. 

Read the IVS for the year ended September 2019
International Visitor Survey - September 2019