Visitor spending back to 2011 levels

International visitors to New Zealand spent $6.7 billion in the year ending December 2013.

The latest quarterly international visitor survey of about 8900 visitors leaving New Zealand airports was released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment last week.

The report found visitor spending was up 5%, compared with the corresponding period in 2012, and at a similar level to 2011, the year New Zealand hosted the Rugby World Cup.

The ministry sector performance manager Peter Ellis said the increase reversed the decline reported in December 2012.

''The biggest expenditure growth came from the United States at 22% from the previous year, followed by Germany at 20%,'' Mr Ellis said.

Visitors from Asia, excluding China, Japan and Korea, also contributed to the growth, up 29%, spending $650 million.

Australia continued to be New Zealand's largest tourism market, with Australians spending $2.2 billion during their visits in the past year.