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Tourism booming but growth rate slows

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.7 million in the October year, up 8 per cent from a year earlier and a new annual record.

Statistics New Zealand says the number of people coming to New Zealand on holiday rose 8.6 per cent on an annual basis to 1.9 million people.

ANZ senior economist Phil Borkin said one-off events had recently affected the inbound tourist arrivals but the rate of growth was slowing from the double-digit annual pace seen over much of last year.

''We suspect this largely reflects capacity issues, and we are not necessarily negative on the sector, especially with the recently lower New Zealand dollar likely to boost overall spending.''

Hotel accommodation has been hard to find at some times of the year in popular tourist spots.

ASB senior economist Mark Smith said the allure of this country as a tourist destination remained high and he also said the falling value of the Kiwi dollar would help boost the purchasing power of overseas visitors and tourism receipts.

''The ability to lift tourism earnings will depend on our ability to cater for tourist numbers – either via more peak spreading or increasing tourism capacity - as well as our ability to attract higher spending tourists.''

Overseas visitors spend about $14.5 billion.

During the past five years, annual visitor arrivals have regularly hit record highs, and have risen by more than one million, or 40 per cent, since the upward trend began in 2013, said population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan.

People living in New Zealand took a record 2.83 million overseas trips in the October 2017 year, up 11 percent on the October 2016 year.

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