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China Overtakes U.K. as N.Z.’s Second-Biggest Tourism Draw

Chinese visitors became New Zealand’s second-biggest spenders from abroad, overtaking tourists from the U.K., a government report showed.

Chinese visitor spending rose 37 percent to NZ$555 million ($458 million) in the 12 months through Sept. 30 from a year earlier, according to government figures published today. Spending by U.K. visitors fell 6 percent to NZ$545 million and purchases by Australians were little changed at NZ$1.66 billion.

Spending by Chinese visitors has surged 74 percent in three years while purchases by U.K. and U.S. tourists have slumped by more than 30 percent as the global financial crisis curbed growth in those economies, according to government figures.

“In the last three years China has overtaken Japan, the U.S. and now the U.K. tourist markets,” Peter Ellis, manager of tourism research and evaluation, said in an e-mailed statement. The increase in spending by Chinese visitors in the past year matches the gain in arrivals, he said.

New Zealand’s total tourist spending fell 2 percent to NZ$5.49 billion even as the number of visitors rose 1.8 percent, today’s report showed. The figures are the first to exclude some of the foreign fans that attended the Rugby World Cup in September and October last year.

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