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International passengers top 1 million in January

International passengers top 1 million in January

There was a record number of international passengers to and from New Zealand in January 2012, Statistics New Zealand said today.

"There were 1.002 million international passengers in January 2012, the first time this number has exceeded 1 million in any month," Population Indicators project manager Susan Hollows said. "There were 499,800 arrivals and 502,600 departures. In comparison, the first year that international passengers exceeded 1 million was the year ended August 1973."

In January 2012, there were 266,800 overseas visitor arrivals, up less than 1 percent from January 2011. The increase in visitors was mainly due to 7,000 more arrivals to visit friends and relatives. Holiday arrivals were down 4,200 and arrivals for conferences and conventions were down 800.

By country, there were more visitors from China and Australia, but fewer from the United Kingdom and Japan. The number of visitors from China (23,300) was the highest recorded for any month. Travel from China in January was influenced by the earlier timing of Chinese New Year (23 January). In 2010 and 2011, Chinese New Year was in February.

Visitor arrivals in the January 2012 year numbered 2.603 million, up 3 percent from 2011.

New Zealand residents took 129,100 trips in January 2012, up 10 percent from January 2011. They took more trips to Australia, the United States, and Fiji. In the January 2012 year, New Zealand residents took 2.104 million overseas trips, up 3 percent from 2011.

Migrant departures outnumber arrivals

New Zealand's seasonally adjusted net loss of migrants continued in January 2012, when departures exceeded arrivals by 600 people. Net losses have been recorded in 10 of the 11 months since the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch.

Unadjusted figures showed 700 more departures of New Zealand citizens compared with January 2011, including 900 more to Australia. There were also 400 fewer arrivals of New Zealand citizens.

New Zealand had a net loss of 3,100 migrants in the January 2012 year. This is the largest net loss since the August 2001 year (4,400). In the January 2012 year, there was a net loss of 38,100 people to Australia, the highest ever recorded. There were 51,900 departures to Australia, offset by 13,800 arrivals from Australia. In both directions, most migrants were New Zealand citizens.

There were net gains of migrants from most other countries, led by the United Kingdom (5,400), India (4,900), and China (4,800) in the January 2012 year.

Geoff Bascand

Government Statistician 5 March 2012 END

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