WELLINGTON, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The rise of China as New Zealand 's second largest tourism market and the way Chinese visitors spend their money is changing the New Zealand tourism industry, according to the New Zealand government 2012 Yearbook published Thursday.
China overtook Britain last year to come second to Australia and New Zealand's largest tourism market, producing dramatic contrasts in electronic card spending between British and Chinese tourists, said the Yearbook published by Statistics New Zealand.
Spending by visitors from China rose by 54 percent from 2008 to 2012, while spending by visitors from Britain fell by 47 percent across the same period, in line with visitor arrivals from the two countries.
Last year tourists from China spent a total of 651 million NZ dollars (506.61 million U.S. dollars), which was more than any other country except Australia.
Chinese visitors on average spent fewer days in New Zealand and visited fewer regions than visitors from other nations, so the bulk of electronic card spending by visitors from China was concentrated in Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and Otago, while British visitor spending was more evenly distributed after Auckland.
Visitors from China also differed in what they spent their money on while in New Zealand.
The largest proportion of British visitor spending was on eating out and drinking, while visitors from China spent most on retail goods such as souvenirs.
The lower proportion of spending on transport and fuel for Chinese visitors was likely to reflect their tendency to travel in tour groups and to visit fewer regions.
"Finally, a much higher proportion of spending by visitors from China is on education services, which illustrates the importance of China's students to our tourism and education sectors," it said.
"If the number of visitors from China increases as forecast, the regions and industries where these visitors currently spend less money will miss the full possible benefits of the increase," it said.
"Thus an important goal for regions is to continue to increase China's visitors' spending as a whole, and to encourage a more even distribution across regions and industries."