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New Zealand Tourism

New Zealand: Asian tourist numbers well down

Aug 23, 2009

An ongoing surge in Australian tourist numbers caused visitor arrivals to increase slightly in July but visitor numbers from Asia are still well down, according to Statistics New Zealand data.

Total visitor arrivals (176,200) increased by just 500 from July 2008, an increase of less than 1%.

Aussie numbers up, Asian numbers down

Visitor arrivals from Australia jumped by 15,800 in July 2009 compared to July 2008, a 20% increase.

However, this was largely cancelled out by fewer visitor arrivals from a number of other countries, mostly in Asia, where swine flu has caused a drop in international travel.

July visitor numbers from Japan were down 5,000, a 57% drop, numbers from Korea were down 3,000, a 37% drop, and the number of arrivals from China was also well down, dropping by 2,700 or 39%.

Although visitor arrivals have increased in three of the last four months, visitor arrivals in the July 2009 year (2.412 million) were down 70,600 from the July 2008 year, a 3% drop.

New Zealanders cut back on travel

Overseas travel by New Zealanders was also down in July.

New Zealand residents departed on 198,400 short-term overseas trips in July 2009, down 3,800 (2%) from July 2008.

Somewhat ironically, New Zealanders took 2800 fewer trips to Australia in July compared to the same month last year, a 2% drop.

Trips to Fiji were also down, by 1,200 (8%), despite the military regime recently devaluing the Fijian currency in order to boost tourism by making holidays in the country cheaper for foreigners.

For the July 2009 year, New Zealand residents took 1.916 million short-term overseas trips, down 78,000 (4%) from the previous year.

Fewer New Zealanders leaving for Australia

Net migration improved again in July, offering hope to the construction industry.

However, this increase was mostly thanks to fewer New Zealanders leaving the country rather than a flood of immigrants coming in.

Permanent and long-term (PLT) departures decreased by 1,900 in July compared to July 2008, the sixth consecutive month that PLT departures have fallen by at least 1,000 when compared with the same month of the previous year.

The traditional outflow of Kiwis across the ditch continued to slow in July with 1,500 fewer departures to Australia; there were also 200 fewer departures to the United Kingdom.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, PLT arrivals exceeded PLT departures by 2,500 in July, up from 1,600 in June and similar to the figures for April (2,100) and May (2,600).

Annual net migration well up

New Zealand's annual net PLT migration balance was a gain of 14,500 in the July 2009 year.

This figure was well up from 5,200 in the July 2008 year but still a long way below the influx seen in the early 2000s when net migration numbers were regularly above 30,000 a year.

The increase in net migration was mainly due to 7,000 fewer PLT departures compared with the previous year. There were also 2,300 more PLT arrivals.

New Zealand: Asian tourist numbers well down
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