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New Zealand Lowers Tourism Spending Forecast on China Revision

New Zealand has lowered its forecast for spending by foreign visitors over the next six years after downgrading the revenue it expects from Chinese tourists.

Spending by tourists will rise to NZ$14.2 billion ($10 billion) by 2023 from NZ$10.6 billion last year, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest annual forecasts published Tuesday in Wellington. That’s 7.7 percent less than the NZ$15.34 billion expected in last year’s projections.

Visitor Dollars

Tourist spending in N.Z. projected to grow at slower pace

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Tourism has overtaken dairy as New Zealand’s top foreign exchange earner, boosted by a surge in arrivals from China, which is projected to overtake Australia as the biggest spender by 2024. But growth from China hasn’t been as strong as previously expected, with arrivals increasing just 2 percent in 2017. Last year, officials forecast China would take the top ranking in 2021.

“Poorer-than-expected results for 2017 in Chinese arrivals and spend estimates have led to a significant revision in forecasts,” the ministry said in the report. “Factors driving the Chinese visitor market are complex and uncertainty remains around expected growth.”

The short-term slowdown in growth may be partly attributed to the strength of New Zealand’s currency and price sensitivity in the market, the ministry said. Still, the slowdown is expected to be temporary and spending will grow as the age mix of arrivals from China changes and visitors stay longer, it said.

The ministry projects spending by Chinese visitors will rise to NZ$2.82 billion in 2023, which is 35 percent less than the NZ$4.35 billion projected in last year’s report.

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