China may soon be New Zealand's second largest tourist market.
The latest international visitor survey produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, shows China was the standout performer in the past year.
The ministry's tourism research and evaluation manager Peter Ellis says spending by Chinese visitors to the country increased by 27% to $522 million in the past 12 months.
Research and evaluation manager Peter Ellis says visitors from Britain spent only $45 million more.
He says China already spends more tourist dollars than Germany and the United States and it will not be long until it overtakes Britain.
Visitors from Australia, New Zealand's largest tourist market, spent $1.6 billion.