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Visitor Arrivals Up 12 Percent

Visitor Arrivals Up 12 Percent

There were 297,300 short-term overseas visitor arrivals in New Zealand in December 2003, up 31,600 or 12 percent on December 2002, according to Statistics New Zealand. This is the highest monthly figure ever recorded for overseas visitor arrivals. (The previous record of 265,700 was set in December 2002.)

In December 2003, there were more visitors from Australia (up 17,600 or 21 percent), the United Kingdom (up 6,200 or 17 percent), the United States (up 2,300 or 10 percent), China (up 1,900 or 24 percent) and Singapore (up 1,300 or 23 percent), but fewer visitors from Japan (down 1,600 or 8 percent) and Taiwan (down 1,000 or 29 percent). The number of stay days for all visitor arrivals in December 2003 increased by 4 percent on the previous December, from 6.22 million days to 6.48 million days. The average length of stay was 22 days in December 2003, compared with 23 days in December 2002.

In the year ended December 2003, there were 2.106 million visitor arrivals, up 61,300 or 3 percent on the previous December year. Holidaymakers accounted for 51 percent of the overseas visitors, while 27 percent came to visit friends and relatives and 10 percent came for business reasons.

There were more visitors from Australia (up 69,700), the United Kingdom (up 27,800), the United States (up 6,300), Germany (up 3,600) and Korea (up 2,700), compared with the year ended December 2002.

Seasonally adjusted visitor arrivals were up by 5 percent in December 2003, following a rise of 2 percent in November 2003, when compared with the previous month.

New Zealand residents departed on 147,900 short-term overseas trips in December 2003, an increase of 20 percent or 24,300 on December 2002. There were more trips to Australia (up 14,200 or 26 percent), China (up 1,200 or 21 percent), Korea (up 900 or 33 percent) and Fiji (up 800 or 21 percent). In the year ended December 2003, New Zealand resident short-term departures numbered 1.374 million, up 6 percent on the year ended December 2002.

Permanent and long-term (PLT) arrivals exceeded departures by 1,600 in December 2003, compared with 3,400 in December 2002. This decrease can be attributed to 800 fewer PLT arrivals and 1,100 more PLT departures. PLT arrivals have now dropped in each of the past ten months, when compared with the same months of the previous year, and PLT departures have increased in each of the past five months.

The seasonally adjusted series recorded a net PLT inflow of 1,400 in December 2003, up from 1,000 in November 2003.

In the year ended December 2003, there was a net migration gain of 34,900 – 9 percent lower than the net inflow of 38,200 people in the previous December year. This resulted from 92,700 PLT arrivals (down 3,300), and 57,800 PLT departures (no change) in 2003.

Compared with the December 2002 year, New Zealand citizen arrivals were up 2,300 and New Zealand citizen departures were down 3,300. In contrast, non-New Zealand citizen arrivals were down 5,600 and non-New Zealand citizen departures were up 3,300.

There were net inflows from China (11,300), India (4,900), Japan (2,200), Fiji (1,900), South Africa (1,600) and the United States (1,200) in the year ended December 2003.

There was also a substantial net inflow from the United Kingdom (10,100), up 71 percent on the December 2002 year figure (5,900). Conversely, there was a net outflow to Australia of 10,200 in the December 2003 year, compared with net outflows of 12,100 in the December 2002 year and 23,800 in the December 2001 year.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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