Travel Exports Gain Narrows Services Deficit

New Zealand’s services trade deficit narrowed to $696 million in the December 2023 quarter, compared with $2.1 billion in the December 2022 quarter, according to data released by Stats NZ today.

QuarterExportImports
Jun-1437898159163883235365
Sep-1436586214804246499480
Dec-1449136828604242930351
Mar-1563321865283925003396
Jun-1548061419584169469715
Sep-1547464100224652963362
Dec-1555395907844499025820
Mar-1671651859144147835866
Jun-1651073682924430973596
Sep-1647241324714761149455
Dec-1657738086034622337277
Mar-1774663687214477575686
Jun-1757570630134716470266
Sep-1751552055605179836762
Dec-1762269887365066100783
Mar-1881219891094770383133
Jun-1861361050525224478424
Sep-1853922281435850232787
Dec-1867366500085772483110
Mar-1982906289535375075671
Jun-1962423778845761400871
Sep-1960137032986324151716
Dec-1969922797936137820335
Mar-2084020133395460567384
Jun-2034457848933933254128
Sep-2032739410204097371504
Dec-2033166474454160194956
Mar-2131583015883981353203
Jun-2139684329834602887215
Sep-2132815188265189853120
Dec-2135348260745657305760
Mar-2233346963445374915870
Jun-2238850475396307374409
Sep-2248241768847633514975
Dec-2258164359617886903550
Mar-2374059608447117002030
Jun-2361147976177270424011
Sep-2362333695387898709435
Dec-2370877899447783878019

The main contributor to the narrowing of the deficit was an increase in travel exports, which increased 44 percent compared with the December 2022 quarter to $3.7 billion. Travel exports represent the amount spent by visitors in New Zealand during the period.

“Travel exports continue to rise as international travel patterns slowly return to normal,” international trade manager Alasdair Allen said.

“There were a lot more visitors arriving by plane and on cruise ships; however, we are still not quite seeing pre-COVID levels of visitation.”

QuarterExportImports
Jun-1421162368211150159033
Sep-1419844222271468587495
Dec-1429845686101284562083
Mar-1543130790761110559127
Jun-1528807062481268505234
Sep-1528139973151608270313
Dec-1534293021101368947026
Mar-1649443190121194644904
Jun-1630408932171347268161
Sep-1626592768691703274203
Dec-1634767729861485971210
Mar-1749450708791344105944
Jun-1733195716281464458021
Sep-1728837026911845667169
Dec-1737754257301617977850
Mar-1853614264571425763900
Jun-1836106235841574449172
Sep-1828587158412022546485
Dec-1838860554811647150833
Mar-1954501284871383040149
Jun-1935445139461540306242
Sep-1929693181441950577060
Dec-1940235715981653007292
Mar-2053762768891327732878
Jun-201338394313272158852
Sep-201103656371339085831
Dec-201050693324357507673
Mar-211072065405306226237
Jun-211373396072426424898
Sep-21851252334458130474
Dec-21755523184449932260
Mar-22786026304447362067
Jun-221196783187850137239
Sep-2216549701301401930325
Dec-2225396747121409553493
Mar-2336614327391333080754
Jun-2327542943511539435491
Sep-2328642397171957389180
Dec-2336615548851759984491

Leading the increase in travel exports was other personal travel, which increased 47 percent to $2.6 billion in the December 2023 quarter compared with the December 2022 quarter. Other personal travel includes spending by tourists and people visiting family and friends.

Australia remains our leading country for other personal travel exports. Spending in this category by visitors from China has increased in the December 2023 quarter compared with the December 2022 quarter but is still not at its pre-COVID levels.

QuarterAustralia“China
Jun-14322871326 People’s Republic of”
Sep-14387662494188001830
Dec-14475073251140073238
Mar-15678855670322379669
Jun-15380967765541033542
Sep-15462299760294475600
Dec-15474738269282581654
Mar-16765561456425859123
Jun-16354012822627950115
Sep-16419943608325100205
Dec-16520764703297081246
Mar-17691651408376027740
Jun-17424444110414189737
Sep-17489952924379324604
Dec-17531300515213667111
Mar-18730282907390519792
Jun-18401861914589377446
Sep-18474723473387615123
Dec-18521150875183633745
Mar-19788135592431747252
Jun-19403032847528815647
Sep-19482279350438020749
Dec-19549264493329785878
Mar-20899342998323538638
Jun-2095205253387191509
Sep-208119503065613558
Dec-208110983138389650
Mar-218721857229605639
Jun-2126526697528716922
Sep-2113538337031983915
Dec-219028113426477976
Mar-2211732725726593158
Jun-2230209921826571624
Sep-2246182868538914003
Dec-2259880814039586486
Mar-2367612947867568491
Jun-23453536058140994550
Sep-23518648262191536207
Dec-23616576711223784237

Total travel imports were up 25 percent compared with the December 2022 quarter, to $1.8 billion. Travel imports were 6.5 percent higher than the December 2019 quarter.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.