China has become New Zealand's official second largest market for tourism. NZ's Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reported that the number of Chinese guests increased by 37 percent in the year ending in September.
Tourists from China have outspent for the first time the British tourists by over 10 million NZ dollars. The Chinese had spent 555 million (USD 458.15 million) in that period compared to the U.K.'s tourists spending 545 million.
According to Peter Ellis who manages tourism research and evaluation at the Ministry, the Chinese traveling to New Zealand as their holiday destination will have big implications for NZ tourism and the industries it supports.
The news fulfills predictions made 14 months ago by the Ministry. Peter Ellis also pointed out that the Chinese along with surpassing the U.K. and Japan in the number of visitors have also increased their spending in NZ by 37% compared to the previous year.
For now the cities of Auckland and Rotorua have been the key destinations for Chinese visitors with Queenstown also on the rise.
Overall New Zealand tourism has rose by two percent, but total spending by tourists has actually dropped by two percent as well.
Observers have commented that the strength and rise in value of the NZ dollar may be hurting the New Zealand international tourist industry. Money spent by international tourism makes up 3.3% of New Zealand's GDP and is a vital part of the New Zealand economy.