Visitor spending coming off after record growth
The average international visitor is spending less but overall added more than $10 billion to the economy in the year to December.
Figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said spending had begun to stabilise after a period of record growth.
For the year to December, international visitor spending grew 4 per cent to $10.1b, but average spending per visitor had seen a small increase.
"Over the last quarter, the New Zealand dollar appreciated against the currencies of some of our key tourist markets, such as the United Kingdom, China and Canada, which likely contributed to growth in international visitor spend being lower than previous quarters," MBIE manager of sector trends Peter Ellis said.
"The record high 3.5 million visitors in the 2016 year has kept visitor spending growth positive at 4 per cent, although this growth is within the margin of error for the survey.
Ellis said spending from Chinese visitors was similar to the same period in 2015, at $1.7b.
MBIE said the North Canterbury earthquake in November last year had had a limited impact on nationwide tourism spending.
But it was likely to have affected the region directly, although this would only show in the next survey in May.