8 Sep 2015

Tourism growth limited by low investment

1:40 pm on 8 September 2015

The tourism industry is close to overtaking dairy as New Zealand's number one export earner, but a lobby group for the tourism sector says growth continues to be constrained by a relatively low level of investment.

International arrivals

Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

The Tourism Industry Association expects the industry to earn $41 billion a year by 2020, which is nearly double its current size of $24 billion.

Chief executive Chris Roberts said its challenges included finding staff, and getting enough investment to cope with the growing numbers of travellers.

"We still have a challenge of getting sufficient investment into the tourism industry and we don't have a great pool of capital in New Zealand, so it is often a matter of looking offshore to see what money may come into New Zealand."

Trade figures last month showed a dramatic annual drop in dairy exports in the 12 months to July, leading one senior economist to predict tourism will overtake it by September.

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