Backpacking tourism sector unable to explain dramatic $167m spending fall

The backpacking tourism sector is unable to explain a dramatic $167 million dollar spending fall by young tourists in the past year.

But Backpacker Adventure Tourism and Youth Association chairman Simon Cartwright rejects the plunge is all down to Brexit, as British backpacking numbers declined by 22 percent.

Cartwright told The AM Show the backpacker sector, in the past, had proven it was resilient "in the face of political adversity".

"We're a part of a global economy," he said. "Backpackers have the right to spend their money and choose to go wherever they want to be.

"We have an amazing tourism product here, and an amazing country, and I think probably what's worrying for us is we actually don't have any answers right now."

Cartwright said Tourism New Zealand will be asked what is being done to determine where backpackers are staying, and whether they're travelling to alternative destinations.

"Our understanding is there's a larger focus on the young professional market," he said.

The focus was a "broad" group of professionals; 25 to 54-year-olds, said Rene De Monchy of Tourism New Zealand.

Backpackers generally spend less than $100 per day, compared to a "professional", who would spend around $265 per day.