Rebounding New Zealand Tourism Is a Rare Bright Spot for Its Economy

New Zealand’s international tourist sector disappeared overnight when the country became one of the first to seal its borders at the beginning of the COVID outbreak in early 2020. But since borders fully reopened in August, foreign tourists have been making their way back and are responsible for one of the main bright spots for an economy battling headwinds as a possible recession looms, Reuters reported. International visitor numbers in January were already back to two-thirds of what they were before the pandemic began, according to the latest data released on Tuesday by Statistics New Zealand. Before the pandemic, tourism was New Zealand's largest source of foreign exchange and accounted for about 5.5% of gross domestic product (GDP). The reviving sector is expected to have supported growth in the quarter to December. The data is out on Thursday and is expected to show a 0.2% contraction in the fourth quarter. Some tourism-related industries have even been performing better than before the pandemic. Food and accommodation is up 10.3% on pre-pandemic levels, according to an analysis of Statistics NZ GDP data for the September 2022 quarter by the Wellington-based economics consultancy Infometrics. Read more.