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Visitor arrival growth slows

Growth in annual visitor arrivals dropped to its lowest level in seven years, as the number of visitors from Asia continued to fall in the October 2019 year, Stats NZ says.

The total number of overseas visitor arrivals increased 81,500 (2.1 per cent) to 3.9 million for the year ended October 2019, compared with the year ended October 2018.

This is the lowest annual growth in an October year since 2012, down from the most recent high of 12 per cent in the year ended October 2016, and below the five-year (2015–19) average of 6.8 per cent.


“Visitor arrivals from Asia have been falling for the last nine months when compared with the same months last year,” population indicators manager Tehseen Islam says.

The drop in visitors from Asia, especially from China (down 41,900), has been more than offset by increases in visitors from Australia (up 52,800) and the United States (up 22,800). Part of the observed drop in visitor arrivals from Asia, including China, is due to an increase in the number of visitors whose country of residence was not stated.

More than one-third of visitors from Australia come to New Zealand to visit friends and family. About three-quarters of visitors from China, and two-thirds of visitors from the USA, come for a holiday.

Overseas visitor arrivals steady in October

The total number of overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand was 283,800 in the October 2019 month, up 300 (0.1 per cent) on the same month last year. The largest movements were from:

  • Australia – up 7000
  • Taiwan – up 1700
  • China – down 3600
  • United States – down 2700
  • Malaysia – down 1700
  • Germany – down 1000.

Japan kicks off for Kiwis in October

New Zealand residents arrived home from 326,400 overseas trips in the October 2019 month. This is almost identical to October 2018, which had 326,200 New Zealand-resident arrivals. The largest movements were from:

  • Japan – up 2500
  • Indonesia – up 2300
  • United States – down 2400.

“The increase in New Zealand residents returning from Japan coincided with the 2019 Rugby World Cup being hosted in that country," Tehseen says.

The total number of New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals for the year ended October 2019 was 3.07 million, up 63,900 from the year ended October 2018.

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