Tourism in New Zealand

Tourism in New Zealand

New Zealand recorded a total of 996,000 tourists in 2020, ranking 98th in the world in absolute terms.

That smaller countries regularly perform lower in a comparison of the absolute number of guests, is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of New Zealand, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.19 tourists per resident, New Zealand ranked 90th in the world. In Australia/New Zealand, it ranked 1st.

In 2018, New Zealand generated around 10.96 billion US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 4.4 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 19 percent of all international tourism receipts in Australia/New Zealand.

Worldwide comparisons:
International tourism
List of safest travel countries

Back to overview: New Zealand

On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2018 spent about 2,698 US dollars. Conversely, the inhabitants of New Zealand spend only around 1,439 dollars a year when they themselves spend vacations abroad.

Tourism in New ZealandNew Zealand consists of 2 main islands and lies in the Pacific Ocean southeast of Australia. The landscape is mainly characterized by volcanoes, lakes, fjords and glaciers. The variety of landscapes is also New Zealand's main feature and attracts millions of tourists every year. Besides the tourist spots, the national parks, beaches, impressive landscapes and the diverse flora and fauna throughout the country are therefore worth seeing. Extremely popular are motorhome or backpacking tours across the North and South Island. Adventure tourism is still unchecked, but the tourism board has been trying for several years to attract mainly well-heeled short vacationers. Thus there is also an ever increasing number of 5-star hotels throughout the country.

A special form of vacation has developed with the "Working Holiday Scheme Visa". Foreigners receive a visa for 12 months, with which they may also work in the country. The goal is to undertake long journeys through the country and to finance the stay with temporary jobs. Other tourists have been allowed to stay longer in the country without a visa than is usual internationally. With 3 months the duration was above average. In 2019 it was even increased to 9 with the new "Visitor Visa".

Popular travel destinations

Auckland is located on the North Island and offers besides its impressive skyline with 2 big harbours also numerous bars, cafes and leisure activities. Mission Bay Beach is known for its beach promenade. Culturally, Auckland offers above all insights into Maori culture and Polynesian history. The nearby Waitakere Ranges are popular for 1- and multi-day hikes.

Rotorua is located southeast of Auckland and is known for its geothermal geysers. Here you can also experience the Maori culture.

Wellington is the southernmost major city of the North Island and the capital of the country. It is famous for its fine sandy beaches and the promenade along the shore. The colorful houses on the hills have a great recognition value.

Christchurch is located on the east coast of the South Island. The city is especially known for its English flair and the boats called "Punt" on the river Avon. Above the city lie the Canterbury Plains and the New Zealand Alps, from which one has a wide view over the country.

Development of the tourism sector in New Zealand from 1995 to 2020

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in New Zealand each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g., crew members of ships or flights are also not considered tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all countries in Australia/New Zealand.

Tourists per year in New Zealand

Revenues from tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 2.32 billion USD, or about 3.6 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 1.41 million tourists at that time and roughly 1,645 USD per person. Within 23 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased noticeably. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were $10.96 billion billion, 5.2 percent of gross national product. Thus, each visitor spent an average of $2,841 on their vacation in New Zealand.

Full figures for 2020, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, are not currently available. However, national and international travel has been restricted worldwide, and some countries have even been closed off from the outside world altogether. Dramatic revenue losses are expected, with some countries experiencing losses of up to more than 80%.

Tourism receipts in New Zealand per year

All data for New Zealand in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
20193.89 m
20183.86 m10.96 bn $5.2 %2,841 $
20173.72 m10.59 bn $5.1 %2,846 $
20163.49 m9.77 bn $5.2 %2,797 $
20153.13 m9.46 bn $5.3 %3,025 $
20142.85 m8.58 bn $4.3 %3,007 $
20132.71 m7.43 bn $3.9 %2,743 $
20122.57 m7.14 bn $4.1 %2,775 $
20112.62 m7.30 bn $4.3 %2,788 $
20102.53 m6.52 bn $4.5 %2,578 $
20092.47 m5.98 bn $4.9 %2,418 $
20082.48 m6.96 bn $5.2 %2,803 $
20072.46 m7.19 bn $5.2 %2,929 $
20062.41 m6.15 bn $5.5 %2,552 $
20052.37 m6.49 bn $5.7 %2,741 $
20042.33 m5.10 bn $4.9 %2,184 $
20032.10 m4.23 bn $4.8 %2,011 $
20022.05 m3.16 bn $4.7 %1,545 $
20011.91 m2.34 bn $4.3 %1,226 $
20001.79 m2.27 bn $4.3 %1,271 $
19991.61 m2.23 bn $3.8 %1,390 $
19981.49 m1.86 bn $3.3 %1,251 $
19971.50 m2.21 bn $3.3 %1,477 $
19961.53 m2.55 bn $3.6 %1,670 $
19951.41 m2.32 bn $3.6 %1,645 $

Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The World Tourism Organization additionally points out that in some countries, the number of tourists is only counted at airports, while in others they are also counted at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

Comparison: quality of lifeQuality of life 2023 in country comparisonCompare the quality of life around the globe: In which countries is life pleasant, safe and healthy?
Ranking: MegacitiesMega cities - the biggest cities all over the worldRanking of the biggest cities worldwide. On top: Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing
Austria: ClimateClimate and temperature development in AustriaA climate analysis for Austria incl. temperatures, humidity, rain days per month, hours of sunshine, water temperature, rainfalls