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Visitor Arrivals Drop 13 Percent

Visitor Arrivals Drop 13 Percent

There were 102,700 short-term overseas visitor arrivals in New Zealand in May 2003, down 15,500 (or 13 percent) on May 2002, according to Statistics New Zealand. The last time that there was a decrease of this magnitude was in March 1998, during the Asian financial crisis, when visitor arrivals were down 13 percent on the March 1997 figure.

In May 2003, there were 17,700 or 47 percent fewer visitors from Asia compared with May 2002. Within the region there were fewer visitors from Japan (down 4,500 or 43 percent), China (down 4,400 or 78 percent), Taiwan (down 1,900 or 75 percent), and Malaysia (down 1,500 or 52 percent).

However, there were more visitors from the United Kingdom (up 1,400 or 15 percent), Australia (up 1,100 or 3 percent) and Germany (up 700 or 54 percent).

The number of stay days for all visitor arrivals in May 2003 decreased 5 percent, compared with the previous May, from 2.34 million days to 2.22 million days, while the average length of stay increased from 20 days to 22 days. In the year ended May 2003, there were 2.054 million visitor arrivals, up 100,700 or 5 percent on the previous May year.

Holidaymakers accounted for 52 percent of the overseas visitors, while 26 percent came to visit friends and relatives, and 10 percent came for business reasons.

There were more visitors from Australia (up 26,400), the United Kingdom (up 20,700), Korea (up 14,700), Japan (up 14,500), the United States (up 13,100) and China (up 10,100), compared with the year ended May 2002.

Seasonally adjusted visitor arrivals fell 4 percent in May 2003, following a drop of 9 percent in April 2003, when compared with the previous month.

New Zealand residents departed on 108,300 short-term overseas trips in May 2003, a decrease of less than 1 percent (or 900) on May 2002. New Zealanders appear to have stayed closer to home in May 2003, with departures to Australia up by 8,500, compared with the previous May.

In contrast, there were fewer trips to China (down 1,500), Hong Kong (down 1,100) and Singapore (down 900). These three countries have all been affected by the SARS virus. There were also fewer departures to Europe (down 1,400) and the United States (down 1,100), compared with May 2002.

In the year ended May 2003, New Zealand resident short-term departures numbered 1.292 million, up 2 percent on the year ended May 2002. In May 2003, permanent and long-term (PLT) arrivals exceeded departures by 1,100, up from the net inflow of 600 in May 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 3,800 in May 2003, up from 3,300 in April 2003. In the year ended May 2003, there was a net inflow of 42,500 PLT migrants, compared with 31,200 migrants in the previous May year.

This resulted from 98,000 PLT arrivals (up 6,800), and 55,500 PLT departures (down 4,500) in 2003. Compared with the May 2002 year, New Zealand citizen departures were down 6,000 in 2003, and non-New Zealand citizen arrivals were up 5,000.

There were significant net PLT inflows from China (15,200), India (6,200), Japan (2,300), South Africa (2,200) and Korea (2,100) in the May 2003 year.

There was also a substantial net inflow from the United Kingdom (8,000), nearly 80 percent higher than the May 2002 year figure (4,500). In contrast, there was a net outflow to Australia of 10,200 in 2003, compared with net outflows of 13,600 in 2002 and 31,800 in 2001.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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