COVID-19 leads a plummet in New Zealand's outbound, inbound tourism

Wednesday, 2020-12-02 10:56:44
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A float is seen on the street during the Farmers Santa Parade in Auckland, New Zealand, Nov. 29, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
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New Zealanders' overseas spending in the September 2020 quarter fell almost NZD1.7 billion (US$1.2 billion) or 84 percent compared with the same time last year, as travel slowed to a trickle because of COVID-19, Stats NZ said on Wednesday (December 2).

Spending by New Zealand travelers and students while overseas was NZD324 million in the September 2020 quarter, compared with nearly NZD2 billion this time last year. This includes spending on things like hotels, food, tuition fees, and rent (travel services imports), but excludes international airfares (which fall under transportation services).

"Historically, New Zealanders take more overseas trips at this time of the year, to escape the winter, but this year the numbers are much lower than usual," international statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

"This coincided with New Zealanders spending more on nesting at home, buying things like furniture and hardware."

Meanwhile, New Zealand's inbound tourism tumbled amid the epidemic. Border restrictions are cutting a swathe through international visitor arrivals which showed a record drop of 1.4 million from April to September 2020. Overseas visitor arrivals were down by 253,200 to 8,600 in September 2020, compared with September 2019. The biggest changes were in arrivals from Australia (down 128,500) and China (down 27,300).

For the fiscal year that ended March 2019, tourism generated NZD16.2 billion, or 5.8 percent of the country's GDP. The indirect value added from industries supporting tourism generated an additional NZD11.2 billion, or 4 percent of GDP.

In the first six months of the year, New Zealand's economy contracted 13.4 percent as a result of the strict lockdown.