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International students give Wellington a $410 million annual boost

1 Nov 2018

New research* has shown the value of Wellington’s international student education sector has hit $410 million a year for the Wellington regional economy and supports 3750 jobs.

Student B2B

Figures released this week by the Government has revealed the benefit of Wellington’s 8504 international students, who in 2017 spent $390 million on tuition and living costs and $20 million on student tourism into Wellington. 

An additional $40 million was generated by friends and relatives visiting students in Wellington, supporting 540 jobs, which is currently included in Tourism NZ figures. 

When both sets of figures are accounted for, Wellington’s international student sector is valued at $450 million a year and supports 4290 jobs in the Wellington region which is recognised globally as a safe, accepting and vibrant place to live and study.

WREDA is responsible for delivering the Wellington International Student Growth Programme (WISGP), a multi-year initiative designed to increase the amount of international fee-paying students in the region. WREDA works with councils in the Wellington region, Education NZ and a consortium of regional education providers to deliver the programme.

WREDA chief executive Lance Walker says the latest figures show the value of focusing on attracting international students to study at Wellington’s suite of high quality education providers. 

“The data reveals Wellington has a 6.8 per cent share of New Zealand’s international students but an 8.5 per cent slice of the economic value they generate. That’s great news for the regional economy which reaps benefits through the spending of international students living here and their family and friends who come to visit them. 

“Another tangible result of attracting international students to Wellington can be seen in the 4290 jobs they support in the region. By growing Wellington’s international student population, new jobs will be created for Wellingtonians across the region. 

“A standout performer in attracting high value students was Wellington’s university sector which grew its international student roster from 3,183 in 2015 to 3,612 in 2017 – which was valued at $174m.”

Mr Walker says China (2319 students) and India (794) are the top two providers of Wellington’s international students.

“The WISGP programme has targeted both these markets, as well as Vietnam which is the region’s fifth largest market, with online marketing campaigns showing the benefits of studying and living in Wellington.

“But it’s important to recognise that international students aren’t just about economic benefits they generate for Wellington. They bring with them different cultures and ways of looking at the world that help make Wellington a more inclusive and accepting place to live.”