Record tourism spending triggered by US visitors

  • 21/02/2018
Plane on runway
Plane on runway. Photo credit: Getty

International visitor spending reached a record $10.6 billion in the year to December, largely driven by an increase in tourists from the United States.

The latest survey, released on Tuesday, shows a 5 percent increase compared with the year to December 2016.

Spending by US visitors was up 18 percent to $1.3b, probably due to the start of direct flights between Houston and Auckland.

Australia and China remain the biggest markets, with Australians spending $2.6b and Chinese $1.5b.

Visitor numbers are forecast to continue rising over the next five years.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis says the government is focused on managing the increase.

"I know there are challenges for tourism," he said. "I also know these challenges are not unsolvable and there's plenty of work going on to ensure the sustainability of the industry," he said.