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Press Release – Statistics New Zealand

New Zealand had 258,200 overseas visitor arrivals in September 2018, up 5,400 from the same month last year, Stats NZ said today.

24 October 2018

New Zealand had 258,200 overseas visitor arrivals in September 2018, up 5,400 from the same month last year, Stats NZ said today.

Australia remains New Zealand’s single biggest source of visitors, but an increasing number of visitors came from Asia in September, which is typically a lower season for tourists.

Although nearly half of all visitors in September 2018 were from Australia (123,500), numbers were down 3,500 on September last year.

In contrast, visitor arrivals from Asia were up 5,100 compared with September last year, continuing an ongoing trend. The increased arrivals came from:
• China (up 1,700)
• Malaysia (up 1,600)
• Hong Kong (up 700).

Visitor numbers from the United States were also up 1,800 compared with September last year.

Sydney most popular airport

In September 2018, 65,800 visitors arrived from Sydney, making it the most popular port for flights to New Zealand. Including Sydney, four of the top five source ports for visitor arrivals were in Australia, the others being:

• Melbourne (44,700)
• Brisbane (34,700)
• Coolangatta (13,600).

Hong Kong was the only non-Australian port in the top five, and was the source of 11,100 overseas visitor arrivals in September 2018.

Holidaymakers reach 2 million in September year

Visitors arriving for the main purpose of a holiday reached 2 million in the year ended September 2018. This was up 83,300 from the year ended September 2017 – the first time a September year has reached this level.

Travelling for a holiday or vacation was the most common reason for visiting New Zealand. Other travel purposes were:

• visiting friends and relatives (1.09 million)
• business (301,900)
• attending conferences/conventions (76,800)
• education (68,400).

Australia accounted for over half of visitors travelling to visit friends and relatives (577,700).

Total visitor arrivals for the September 2018 year were 3.81 million, up 130,900 from the September 2017 year.

Final days for departure cards

From 5 November 2018, travellers leaving New Zealand will no longer need to complete a passenger departure card (see Final call for travel departure cards). This change will see a full adoption of the outcomes-based measure of migration, first released in May 2017 (see Outcomes versus intentions: Measuring migration based on travel histories).

Update on migration estimates

Stats NZ is also developing provisional migration estimates to maintain timely statistics. An update was published in early October (see Update on the development of provisional external migration estimates) and further updates are planned for November and December.

New release schedule

The removal of the departure card means changes to the timing and composition of the International travel and migration release. Statistics on short-term movements (including the current report International visitor arrivals to New Zealand) will be published via a new ‘International travel’ release, and long-term movements in a new ‘International migration’ release. Both releases will be published on the same day, up to 30 working days after each reference month. November data, previously published just before Christmas, will now be published in January, and December data in February (see Release calendar).

The new release schedule largely reflects the need to use integrated administrative data (ie Stats NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure) to provide place-of-residence within New Zealand of migrants and short-term resident travellers. This replaces information from the departure card. The timing is also affected by the new method to produce provisional migration estimates.

For more information about these statistics:

• Visit International visitor arrivals to New Zealand: September 2018


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