New Zealand landscapes: Snow-capped mountains near Milford Sound
New Zealand landscapes: A beach at sunset near Greymouth
New Zealand landscapes: Hills above the Whanganui River
Seakayaking from Hahei, New Zealand
Queenstown from Bob's Peak
Sky Tower, in Auckland, the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, is an observation tower as well as a revolving restaurant.
Tourism is an important industry in New Zealand, directly contributing NZ$7.3 billion (or 3.7%) of the country's GDP in 2013, as well as directly supporting 110,800 full-time equivalent jobs (nearly 6% of New Zealand's workforce). A further 5% of GDP (or NZ$9.8 billion) is indirectly contributed through the flow-on effects of tourism. International tourist spending accounted for 16% of New Zealand's export earnings (nearly NZ$10 billion). International and domestic tourism contributes, in total, NZ$24 billion to New Zealand's economy every year. Currently the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand Paula Bennett also serves as Minister of Tourism.
New Zealand is marketed abroad as a "clean, green" adventure playground (Tourism New Zealand's main marketing slogan, 100% Pure New Zealand, reflects this) with typical destinations being nature areas such as Milford Sound, Abel Tasman National Park or the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, while activities such as bungee jumping or whale watching exemplify typical tourist attractions, often marketed primarily to individual and small-group travellers. By far the highest number of New Zealand's tourists (about 45%) come from Australia due to their close proximity and relations.
The vast majority of tourist arrivals to New Zealand come through Auckland Airport, which handled nearly fifteen million passengers in 2013. Two per cent of visitors arrive by sea (as of 2009). Many international tourists spend time in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Rotorua, and Wellington. Other high-profile destinations include the Bay of Islands, Waitomo Caves, Aoraki / Mount Cook, and Milford Sound. Many tourists travel large distances through the country during their stays, typically using coach lines or hire cars.
Domestic tourism is also important, though expenditure and trip numbers have been declining or stagnating in the face of fast-growing international tourism. Domestic tourist spending of NZ$9.8 billion a year still exceeds that of international visitors (NZ$6.5 billion).
In November 2012 readers of UK paper The Telegraph voted New Zealand the best country in the world to go to on holiday. The national airline, Air New Zealand, was voted third-best long-haul carrier.