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International travel: February 2019

International travel: February 2019

Key facts

In February 2019 compared with February 2018, the number of overseas visitor arrivals was down 5,500 to 417,900. The biggest changes were in arrivals from:

The number of New Zealand residents returning from an overseas trip in February 2019 was up 13,800 from February 2018, to 190,600. The biggest changes were in arrivals from:

Visitor arrivals for those aged 54 years and under decreased in February 2019 when compared with February 2018. However, visitor arrivals this year increased for all age groups 55 and over. The largest changes were in the following age groups:

  • 45–54 (down 4,300)
  • 65–74 (up 3,800)
  • 35–44 (down 3,600).
Age group (years)NumberVisitor arrivals by age group, February month 2015–1920152016201720182019Under 1515-2425-3435-4445-5455-6465+0100k25k50k75kStats NZ

For the month of February 2019:

  • median length of stay (half stayed less than this duration, half stayed more) for visitor arrivals was 9.4 days
  • median length of absence (half stayed away less than this duration, half stayed away more) for New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals was 11.1 days.

The most popular day for travel in February 2019 was the 15th, when there were 23,800 arrivals and 22,800 departures.

In the February 2019 year compared with the February 2018 year:

  • visitor arrivals were 3.88 million, up 102,500
  • New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals were 3.04 million, up 167,300.

Visitor arrivals over the past 20 years

Over the past 20 years, New Zealand’s total number of overseas visitor arrivals for the year ended February has more than doubled, growing from 1.50 million in 1999 to reach 3.88 million in 2019. While the general trend is for visitor numbers to increase each year, the pattern has varied between source countries.

The number of visitors from Australia tripled between 1999 and 2019, up from 503,000 to 1.50 million. Australia dominates most of New Zealand’s travel statistics and has been a large driver of the overall trend.

Annual visitor arrivals from the United States also increased substantially over the period, up from 165,600 to 354,700 (more than double).

The largest growth in visitor numbers came from China, up from 16,500 in 1999 to 436,700 in the February 2019 year, an increase of 27 times their original total. China is now the second-largest source country for visitor arrivals to New Zealand.

Other countries do not have the same upward trend. Visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom initially rose and peaked at 310,800 in the year ended April 2006. Numbers then fell gradually to 234,800 in the February 2019 year.

Visitor arrivals from Japan decreased over the period, down from 150,800 to 98,600 (a decrease of 35 percent).

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This press release was sourced from Statistics New Zealand on 12-Apr-2019.