New Zealand predicted tourist spending will increase 13 percent in the five years through 2018, buoyed by arrivals from China.

Tourists will spend NZ$6.28 billion ($5 billion) in 2018, up from an estimated NZ$5.54 billion ($4.4 billion) this year, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment said in a statement on its website. The 2018 forecast is little changed from the previous projection of NZ$6.27 billion published in November.

Growth in New Zealand’s tourism industry, which makes up about 10 percent of the economy, is increasingly reliant on China, which is the second-biggest source of spending after Australia. Spending by Chinese visitors is forecast to surge 55 percent to NZ$1.12 billion by 2018.

Australian spending is forecast to rise to NZ$1.84 billion by 2018, with visitor numbers lower than previously projected because of slower economic growth, the ministry said. Australian families are reluctant to visit the South Island after earthquakes in 2010-11, and the strong Australian dollar makes alternative destinations more appealing, it said.

Editors: Matthew Brockett and Andrew Davis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at [email protected] To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at [email protected]

Photo Credit: New Zealand countryside as seen from car window. Sarah-Rose / Flickr