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Estimating visitor expenditure in New Zealand during the June 2020 quarter – Methods paper

28 August 2020

This page provides information on how Stats NZ will estimate the expenditure of international visitors in New Zealand for the June quarter of 2020. This data will be published as part of the International trade release on 2 September 2020.

International visitor expenditure in New Zealand has previously been measured through the International Visitor Survey (IVS) which is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on a quarterly basis. This survey asks a sample of departing visitors the total value of their expenditure in New Zealand, which is rated up to a total spend for all short-term visitors, using international travel statistics, produced by Stats NZ.

This method works well when a survey can be conducted on departing visitors, and when visitors can depart New Zealand, as they planned. However, the IVS has been unable to be run at international airports since the border closures near the end of March 2020. This reduced the size of the March 2020 quarter’s sample and has led to no survey data being collected in the June 2020 quarter. Because some visitors have remained in New Zealand throughout the June quarter, there is associated expenditure, which is important to measure for key macroeconomic statistics, such as the Balance of payments and the National accounts.

To service these macro-economic statistics for the June quarter of 2020 and beyond, we need a different approach for estimating visitor expenditure. On 3 June 2020 we published Visitor expenditure in New Zealand using an experimental series, outlining a method for measuring the number of visitors in New Zealand and their expenditure.

We have made some improvements to this method to enable a better response to changes in expenditure in the June 2020 quarter.

Read Estimating visitor expenditure in New Zealand during the June 2020 quarter.

Overseas trade indexes, release date change
2 September 2020: International trade: June 2020 quarter
Combines Goods and services trade by country and Overseas trade indexes (prices and volumes) releases.

The overseas trade indexes (OTI) will be released on Wednesday, 2 September instead of Tuesday 1 September.

The release will be part of a new joint release, International trade, which will also include the Goods and services overseas trade by country release. The joint quarterly International trade release will be standard from now on. It is part of our efforts to produce more coherent, joined-up trade statistics, rather than having many different parts released on different days. We are hoping to continue to make improvements in this area in future releases.

In addition to the OTI release date change, the Goods and services release will include some changes. Please see Introducing a new international trade statistics release for more details on these changes.

For technical enquiries contact: James McKay, Christchurch, 03 964 8307,

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