USA, Europe drive record NZ visits

Strong growth in visitors from the United States and Europe in February saw tourist numbers reach a new annual record.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, rose to a record 3.544m in the year to February, up 10.7% on the previous year, said Statistics New Zealand.

Visitor arrivals numbered 380,000 in February 2017, up 2%, or 6,700, on February 2016.

The biggest changes were in arrivals from:

  • China (down 19,400)
  • United States (up 10,500)
  • United Kingdom (up 3,300)

“In February, strong increases in visitor numbers from the United States and Europe were behind the overall rise in visitor arrivals,” said population statistics senior manager for Statistics NZ, Peter Dolan.

“These more than offset the large drop in visitor numbers from China, which was likely due to Chinese New Year beginning in January this year, and in February in 2016.”

Visitors from Hong Kong leaped 23.1% to 46,288 while visitors from India grew 14.8% to 53,424. Visitors from Australia rose 5.3% to 1.42m while visitors from China were up 9.4% to 402,832.

Statistics New Zealand said New Zealand residents travelling overseas set a new annual record of 2.66m overseas trips in the February 2017 year, up 10% on the previous corresponding period.

In February 2017, New Zealand residents left on 147,400 trips overseas, up 16% from February 2016.

International migration statistics rely on the information provided on passenger cards at the time of travel. The reported length of intended stay in New Zealand, or time away from New Zealand, determines whether the passenger is a visitor or a migrant.

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