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How can I estimate tourism spend per visitor?

February 04, 2019

This article was produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The content you find below is exclusive to the Tourism Evidence and Insights Centre.


Currently, the New Zealand government publishes three different datasets related to tourism spend in New Zealand: the International Visitor Survey (IVS); the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA); and the Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates (MRTEs).

Estimates of spend per visitor can only be calculated at the national level

In order to estimate the spend per visitor, we must be able to calculate the total spend and total number of visitors for a specific time period:


From the publically available datasets listed above, the IVS is the only one that estimates both the number of visitors and visitor spend. Thus, the IVS alone can be used to estimate the spend per visitor, as you can find in our IVS release. However, the design of the IVS restricts calculating the spend per visitor to the national level.

We are working on it

We currently have no method to estimate visitor numbers at the regional level. Therefore, it is not possible to calculate regional spend per visitor figures. We know how important these figures are for the tourism industry and ‘investigating regional tourism volumes and flows’ came out as a high priority from the Tourism Data Domain plan. Therefore, we are currently investigating how we can obtain this data.