Tourists have spent nearly $90 million since the opening of the Rugby World Cup - but there is still a long way to go if New Zealand is to gain the $700 million economic benefit promised.

Paymark figures taken from spending on foreign credit and debit cards show tourists spent $39.5 million in the week to last Sunday, up 37 per cent on the same time last year and up from the $35.7 million the previous week.

In total they have spent just over $88 million since the Rugby World Cup started on September 9.

But the country's total spending has dropped in comparison to the start of the Cup.


More than $729 million was spent in the week to last Sunday on all electronic transactions.

That is up 2.7 per cent on the same time last year, but down on the amount spent in the first 10 days of the cup tournament.

The figures show a spike around the opening weekend, when total spending for the country was up 10 per cent on the same time last year.

Paymark chief executive Simon Tong said the extent of the apparent slowdown could be a result of high spending during the same week last year before the GST increase which took effect on October 1.

Mr Tong said there have been criticisms from some sectors about the rate of spending not living up to expectations.

"I'm a little bit concerned that the commentary is that all the rest of retail isn't seeing a big increase in spending but I'm not sure necessarily what we were expecting to happen."

Spending at cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs has been high when All Black games were on, and payment for accommodation in Wanganui and Hawkes Bay was up by 34 and 24 per cent respectively.

The Government has indicated the country could make $700 million in direct economic returns as a result of hosting the Cup.


However, senior academics have said that figure has been wildly overestimated.