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Record-setting month for international travel

Record-setting month for international travel

30 January 2014

Annual international passenger numbers exceeded 10 million for the first time ever in the December 2013 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. This total consisted of 5 million arrivals and 5 million departures.

"International passenger numbers first reached 1 million a year in 1973," population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said. "Now, the same total can be recorded in just one month, as was the case in December 2013. By 1996, passenger numbers had increased to 5 million per year, and have doubled in the 17 years since then."

New milestones were also recorded for visitor arrivals. The 381,900 visitor arrivals in December 2013 was the highest monthly total ever, surpassing the previous high of 364,200 in December 2011. In the December 2013 year, visitor arrivals passed the 2.7 million mark for the first time, increasing 6 percent from the previous year.

New Zealand residents departed on 221,200 overseas trips in December 2013, up 2 percent from December 2012 and a record for a December month. Over the year, New Zealand residents took 2.193 million trips, up 1 percent from the previous year. The most common destinations were Australia (1.018 million), the United States (142,200), Fiji (112,300), and the United Kingdom (96,700).

Net gain of 2,800 migrants

New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 2,800 migrants in December 2013. The monthly net gain has been about this level since September 2013, after increasing from near zero in December 2012. The increase was due to fewer people departing to live in Australia, as well as more arriving migrants. Non-New Zealand citizens contributed most of the increase in arrivals.

In the December 2013 year, migrant arrivals from all countries numbered 94,000, the highest since the October 2003 year (94,900). Migrant departures numbered 71,500, resulting in a net gain of 22,500 migrants. This compares with a net loss of 1,200 migrants in the December 2012 year.

In the latest year, New Zealand had a net loss of 19,600 migrants to Australia, well down from 38,800 a year earlier. Net gains were recorded from most other countries, led by the United Kingdom (5,800), China (5,700), and India (5,400).

For more information about these statistics: International Travel and Migration: December 2013

ENDS

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