Backpackers bump up NZ economy

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 21 August 2012

Tourism New Zealand's 'Stories Beat Stuff' campaign was launched a year ago to combat falling backpacker numbers and the campaign is already paying dividends with numbers up across the board despite disappointing figures in regular tourism.

The three largest sources of backpackers in the country, many of them on a New Zealand working holiday visa, are Australia, Germany and the UK. Almost 10% more Australians travelled to NZ in the past year compared to previous records as well as 3% more Germans and 1% more Britons.

It's not just visitor numbers that provide a welcome boost to New Zealand's tourism industry though, backpackers have been shown to not only stay longer on their trips than regular tourists, but stay longer, travel wider, distributing their money around the country, and help shore up labour gaps in several industries.

Backpackers spend on average NZ$2,877 (£1,480) compared to NZ$2,360 (£1,215) of other tourists and spend over 25 days in the country compared to 16 days for regular tourists.

"[Backpackers] tend to trip around the country a lot more, so they help spread tourism business around the whole country," said Justin Watson, spokesperson for Tourism NZ.

"They also help to fill seasonal employment through the working holiday scheme."

The Stories Beat Stuff campaign will move into its final stage in October.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.