International travel: March 2019

International travel: March 2019

International travel covers the number and characteristics of overseas visitors and New Zealand resident travellers (short-term movements) entering or leaving New Zealand.

Key facts

In March 2019 compared with March 2018, the number of overseas visitor arrivals was down 10,100 to 378,300. The biggest changes were in arrivals from:


The number of New Zealand residents returning from an overseas trip in March 2019 was up 11,900 from March 2018, to 195,000. The biggest changes were in arrivals from:


Visitor arrivals for those aged 55 and over increased in March 2019 when compared with March 2018 but decreased for all age groups under 55. The largest changes were in the following age groups:

  • 65–74 (up 9,400)
  • 25–34 (down 7,300)
  • Under 15 (down 6,900).

For the month of March 2019:

  • median length of stay (half stayed less than this duration, half stayed more) for visitor arrivals was 7.8 days
  • median length of absence (half stayed away less than this duration, half stayed away more) for New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals was 7.9 days.

The most popular day for travel in March 2019 was Friday the 1st, when there were 22,000 arrivals and 24,000 departures.

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

  • visitor arrivals were 3.87 million, up 47,900
  • New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals were 3.05 million, up 175,300.

Growth rates by country

Australia was the source of roughly 2 in 5 visitors to New Zealand in 2019 and dominates the general trend of increasing overseas visitor arrivals. This can overshadow the growth rates of smaller countries. One way to make comparing these growth rates easier is by indexing the visitor numbers.

Based on an index of 1000 in the March year 2000, most countries have increased visitors to New Zealand. Japan is one exception, with fewer visitors since 2005. Other countries such as the United Kingdom and United States have had ups and downs in visitor numbers, reflecting a combination of factors including exchange rate fluctuations.

Somewhat surprisingly, even with the large volume of travellers arriving from Australia, its visitor growth rate has still exceeded that of most other countries since 2000.

Most countries have experienced slower growth in visitor numbers in 2019 compared with the previous five years.

China is excluded from this graph because its rate of growth since 2000 has been so high that it overshadows other growth rates. China’s index value is 16205 in 2019.

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This press release was sourced from Statistics New Zealand on 14-May-2019.