WELLINGTON, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Continued growth in overseas visitor numbers and a buoyant domestic tourism market drove New Zealand tourism spending to record 39 billion NZ dollars (26.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the year ended March 2018, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Friday.
Total tourism expenditure was up 7.7 percent, following a 2.5-percent increase in the previous year, according to the 2018 Tourism satellite account released on Friday.
International tourist spending increased to 16.2 billion NZ dollars, up 9.6 percent. The number of short-term arrivals to New Zealand increased by 7.8 percent over the same period, statistics showed.
International tourism expenditure contributed 20.6 percent to New Zealand's total exports of goods and services, according to Stats NZ.
"Continued strength in visitor numbers across key international markets, on the back of additional airline and cruise capacity, lifted spending by international tourists," national accounts senior manager Susan Hollows said in a statement.
Spending by domestic tourists surged to 23 billion NZ dollars in the latest year, up 6.5 percent, Stats NZ said.
"The boost in domestic tourist spending was underpinned by strong increases across the accommodation, hospitality, passenger transport, and retail sectors," Hollows said.
Tourists generated 3.7 billion NZ dollars in goods and services tax (GST) revenue, with 1.7 billion NZ dollars coming from international tourists, she said, adding tourism generated a direct contribution of 6.1 percent of New Zealand GDP, and the indirect value added of industries supporting tourism generated an additional 4.3 percent of GDP.
The account also showed about 8 percent of the total number of New Zealand employed people were directly employed in tourism, up 2.6 percent from the previous year. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.45 NZ dollars)