Latest tourism spending figures show the Kaikoura earthquake had a major impact on the region.

Overall the national tourism spend rose 8.7 per cent during the year to $25.76b and Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show that the November 14 quake had a limited overall impact on tourism expenditure.

However, the earthquake made a significant impact on the total spend locally in North Canterbury,which includes Kaikoura and Hurunui Districts.

This region saw a 20 per cent fall in tourism spending in November (to $22 million) compared the same month in 2015.


International visitor spending fell 29 per cent in November, compared with the same month the previous year, while domestic visitor spending fell 13 per cent over the same period.

As the earthquake occurred midway through November, the full impacts on the regional economies in the affected areas are not completely shown. Nelson had the biggest percentage growth, rising 15 per cent during the year to November to $337m.

Otago was up 14 per cent to $3.5 billion and West Coast up 11 per cent to $475m.

In the immediate aftermath of the Kaikoura quake tourism operations were halted and while they are slowly recovering limited road access is making it difficult for visitors to reach the region.

Data for the month of December, due to be released on January 26 will give a clearer indication of how tourism spending in these areas has been affected, MBIE said.