The total number of people crossing New Zealand’s border continued to pick up in May 2021 with the opening of two-way quarantine-free travel with Australia, Stats NZ has released.
“Trans-Tasman travel made up more than 90 percent of all border crossings in May 2021,” population indicators manager Tehseen Islam says.
There were 189,500 total border crossings in May 2021, made up of 91,300 arrivals and 98,200 departures.
“This was more than double the total border crossings in April 2021 but still well down on May 2019 which had almost one million.”
Provisional data for June 2021 shows a small decrease in border crossings from May 2021. This partly reflects the impact of travel restrictions with some Australian states and territories in June.
New Zealand citizens travelling to and from Australia, made up 53 percent of all arrivals and departures, respectively, in May 2021.
Border crossings include all arrivals and departures, either for short-term trips or longer term, and by people living overseas or in New Zealand.
Increase in visitors from Australia
There were 53,600 visitor arrivals from Australia in May 2021, which was 94 per cent of all overseas visitor arrivals who specified their country of residence. Two-thirds of those arriving from Australia were visiting family and friends.
Of those Australian visitors that specified a state/territory of residence, 37 percent were from New South Wales, followed by Queensland (29 per cent) and Victoria (23 per cent).
Australia the main destination for New Zealand-resident travellers
There were 29,000 New Zealand-resident travellers who arrived back from an overseas trip in May 2021, up 26,400 from the same month last year.
Australia was the main destination for New Zealand-resident travellers, with 25,300 arriving back in May 2021. This is well up on May 2020, but still below pre-COVID levels in May 2019. About 70 per cent of those who arrived back home in May 2021 were visiting family and friends.
Of all New Zealand-resident travellers who stated a main destination on their return, 92 percent were coming back from Australia, followed by the Cook Islands (2 percent) and the United States (1 percent).
Net migration drops
Net migration was provisionally estimated at 5700 in the year ended May 2021 compared with 87,500 in the year ended May 2020, a drop of 81,700.
The net gain of 5700 in the year ended May 2021 was made up of 42,600 migrant arrivals and 36,800 migrant departures.
There was a net migration gain of 16,100 New Zealand citizens and a net migration loss of 10,300 non-New Zealand citizens in the year ended May 2021.