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Visitor Arrivals Down 4 Percent

Visitor Arrivals Down 4 Percent

There were 193,900 short-term overseas visitor arrivals in New Zealand in March 2003, down 8,700 or 4 percent on March 2002, according to Statistics New Zealand. Visitor arrivals increased in the first two weeks of March 2003 when compared with the same period last year, but dropped in the last two weeks of March. Visitors may have been deterred by the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus in parts of Asia, and by the uncertainty preceding the United States-led invasion of Iraq. In addition, increased visitor arrivals in the last week of March 2002 coincided with the Easter holidays.

Fewer visitors came from the United Kingdom (down 3,600), Australia (down 1,600), Hong Kong (down 1,400), and Japan and Taiwan (both down 1,100), compared with March 2002. However, there were more visitors from China (up 400). The number of stay days for all visitor arrivals in March 2003 declined 3 percent, compared with the previous March, from 4.11 million days to 4.00 million days, while the average length of stay increased from 20 days to 21 days.

In the year ended March 2003, there were 2.062 million visitor arrivals, up 107,600 or 6 percent on the previous March year. Holidaymakers accounted for 53 percent of the overseas visitors, while 25 percent came to visit friends and relatives, and 11 percent came for business reasons. There were more visitors from Japan (up 23,200), Korea (up 22,000), China (up 20,000), the United Kingdom (up 13,400), the United States (up 9,700) and Australia (up 4,500), compared with the year ended March 2002.

Seasonally adjusted visitor arrivals rose 2 percent in March 2003, following a fall of 2 percent in February 2003, when compared with the previous month.

New Zealand residents departed on 87,500 short-term overseas trips in March 2003, a decrease of 13,700 or 14 percent on March 2002. The timing of the Easter holidays (in the last week of March 2002) may have contributed to the drop in departures in March 2003. Resident departures increased slightly in the first two weeks of March 2003, but dropped by about 25 percent in the last two weeks, compared with March 2002. Concerns surrounding SARS and the conflict in Iraq may also have contributed to the drop in departures. There were fewer departures to Australia (down 7,300), Hong Kong (down 1,000), Indonesia and Fiji (both down 900) and the United Kingdom and Thailand (both down 600).

In the year ended March 2003, New Zealand resident short-term departures numbered 1.283 million, down 4,000 or less than 1 percent on the year ended March 2002.

In March 2003, permanent and long-term (PLT) arrivals exceeded departures by 1,800, slightly more than the net inflow of 1,700 in March 2002. The PLT arrivals included people – such as students – who arrived in New Zealand intending to stay for a period of 12 months or more.

The seasonally adjusted series recorded a net PLT inflow of 3,600 in March 2003, down from 5,200 in February 2003.

In the year ended March 2003, there was a net inflow of 41,600 PLT migrants, compared with 25,600 migrants in the previous March year. This resulted from 98,700 PLT arrivals (up 10,300), and 57,100 PLT departures (down 5,700) in 2003. Compared with the March 2002 year, non-New Zealand citizen arrivals were up 8,600 in 2003, and New Zealand citizen departures were down 7,000.

There were significant net PLT inflows from China (15,900), India (6,300), South Africa (2,400), Japan (2,300), Korea (2,200) and Fiji (1,900) in the March 2003 year. There was also a substantial net inflow from the United Kingdom (7,200), which was more than double the March 2002 year figure (3,400). In contrast, there was a net outflow to Australia of 11,300, compared with net outflows of 16,100 in 2002 and 31,600 in 2001.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END

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