Tourism Satelite Account

19 December 2022


The Tourism Satellite Account, produced by StatsNZ, provides a picture of the role tourism plays in New Zealand, with information on the changing levels and impact of tourism activity. The latest report (year-ended March 2022) and table data can be found on StatsNZ's website.

Key provisional estimates for the year ended March 2022

Note: The 2022 annual estimates captured the impact of COVID-19 in New Zealand between the period April 2021 and March 2022. The impact of the border reopening to international visitors from April 2022 will be evident in Tourism satellite account: Year ended March 2023, to be published in December 2023.

Year-ended March Expenditure Employment in tourism Contribution to GDP
Domestic International Total Direct Indirect Total Direct Indirect Total
2020 $23,696m $17,662m $41,358m 219,093 147,189 366,282 5.4% 3.7% 9.1%
2021 $24,349m $1,486m $25,835m 141,417 93,054 234,471 3.3% 2.2% 5.5%
2022 (provisional) $24,598m $1,941m $26,539m 145,032 95,835 240,867 3.0% 2.0% 5.1%
2022 % change on 2020 4% -89% -34% -35% -34% -36% -44% -46% -44%
2022 % change on 2021 1% 31% 3% 3% 3% 3% -9% -9% -7%

  • total tourism expenditure was $26.5 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent ($704 million) from the previous year
  • international tourism expenditure increased 30.6 percent ($455 million) to $1.9 billion:
    • international student expenditure (studying less than 12 months) was $184 million, an increase of 135.7 percent ($106 million)
    • international tourism’s overall contribution to New Zealand’s total exports of goods and services was 2.4 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage points
    • GST generated from international tourists totalled $209 million, an increase of $72 million
  • overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand increased 335.3 percent to 229,370
  • domestic tourism expenditure increased 1.0 percent ($249 million) to $24.6 billion:
    • household tourism expenditure decreased 1.7 percent ($344 million)
    • business and government increased 14.2 percent ($593 million)
  • tourism generated a direct contribution to GDP of $10.0 billion, or 3.0 percent of GDP, an increase of 1.3 percent ($132 million)
  • the indirect value added of industries supporting tourism generated an additional $6.6 billion, or 2.0 percent of GDP
  • the number of people attributed to being directly employed in tourism was 145,032 – an increase of 2.6 percent (3,615 people)
    • the number of tourism employees was 125,622 – an increase of 3.2 percent (3,888)
    • the number of tourism working proprietors was 19,413 – a decrease of 1.4 percent (267)
    • as a share of the total number of people employed in New Zealand, direct tourism employment was 5.2 percent.

Interpretation of data

The annual estimates featured capture the impact of COVID-19 in New Zealand up to the year ended March 2022. The March 2022 year featured the opening of the Trans-Tasman bubble, the travel bubble between the Cook Islands and New Zealand, a cessation of these bubbles, and an eventual resumption of some international services. Domestically, the impact of the Delta and Omicron variants saw alert level restrictions and the traffic light framework affect domestic tourism. Auckland – the largest source and recipient of domestic tourism – was particularly impacted, which had a consequential expenditure effect on the rest of New Zealand.

The data sources used in deriving the numbers for the March 2021 and 2022 years at an industry, commodity, and resultant aggregate level will be subject to future updates. These updates reflect COVID-19 related methodological challenges and further assessment and interpretation of the expenditure compositional change as part of the 2023 cycle of annual analysis and updated input datasets. Data presented in this TSA for these years should serve to provide initial guidance but may be subject to larger than usual updates.

Accommodation expenditure in the March 2022 year has been impacted by both Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ), and the use of traditional accommodation providers for emergency housing. The vast majority of MIQ expenditure, and emergency housing, is not tourism activity and therefore excluded from the accommodation expenditure estimates.

Tourism employment figures are only estimated by the Tourism Satellite Account. The estimates are calculated by applying each tourism-related industry’s ratio (the proportion of expenditure in that industry attributed to tourism) to that industry’s employment counts. The impact of COVID-19 has significantly changed these previously consistent industry ratios due to a decrease in tourism expenditure and, for some industries, an increase in overall expenditure. Therefore, direct tourism employment should be interpreted as employees directly engaged in tourism rather than actual counts.