WELLINGTON, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand might be attracting record numbers of overseas visitors, but they spent less on average last year than they did in 2012, according to figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on Thursday.
Total spending by international visitors was up 5 percent last year to 6.67 billion NZ dollars (5.5 billion U.S. dollars), but each visitor spent 1 percent less on average at just 2,760 NZ dollars (2,278 U.S. dollars), according to the MBIE's International Visitor Survey.
MBIE sector performance manager Peter Ellis said the total increase reversed the decline reported in December 2012.
"Visitor spend is now at a similar level to that reported in 2011, the year New Zealand hosted the Rugby World Cup," he said in a statement.
Australia remained New Zealand's largest tourism market, with Australian visitors spending 2.2 billion NZ dollars (1.81 billion U.S. dollars) last year, but their average spending fell by 3 percent.
Visitors from China, the second biggest market, spent a total of 732 million NZ dollars (604.36 million U.S. dollars), up 7 percent, but their average spending fell by 14 percent.
More than 2.7 million overseas visitors arrived in New Zealand last year, up 6 percent from the previous year, the government statistics agency announced last month.
The surge in arrivals was led by increases in visitor numbers from Australia, China and the United States, according to Statistics New Zealand.