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Overseas trips soar to monthly record

Overseas trips soar to monthly record

Embargoed until 10:45am – 19 August 2011

Overseas trips by New Zealand residents numbered 231,600 in July 2011, a record for any month, Statistics New Zealand said today. The latest figure easily surpassed the previous high of 210,000 in September 2010.

"Various factors could have contributed to the record number of overseas trips," Population Statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said. "These include the later timing of the school holidays in 2011, favourable foreign exchange rates, and people delaying travel until July due to the flight disruptions in June caused by ash from Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano."

There were big increases in trips to the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Singapore, Malaysia, and France. Except for Fiji and France, departures to each of these countries hit a new monthly high in July 2011.

In contrast, visitor arrivals decreased 4 percent in July 2011 compared with July 2010. Arrivals from China (up 1,700) provided the only large increase, with fewer visitors from Australia, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Korea.

In July 2011, 1,200 visitors recorded that they were here for the Rugby World Cup. This new data will be released monthly. There are more limitations than usual with this data – for example, in July not all arrival cards included a question about the World Cup.

Monthly net migration remains negative

On a seasonally adjusted basis, there was a net loss of 200 permanent and long-term migrants in July 2011. Monthly net migration has been negative since March 2011, when departures from Christchurch jumped following the 22 February earthquake that damaged the city.

Unadjusted figures showed 800 Christchurch residents departing to live overseas in July 2011, up from 500 in July 2010. Migrants arriving from overseas to settle in Christchurch numbered 400 in July 2011, down from 500 in July 2010.

The net outflow of migrants from New Zealand to Australia was 3,200 in July 2011, the highest recorded for a July month (records are available from 1978 onwards). The previous high for a July month was a net outflow of 2,900 in 1979.

In the year ended July 2011, New Zealand had a net migration gain of 2,900, down from 15,200 the previous year. The latest figure is below the average annual net migration gain of 12,000 over the last 20 years, and is the lowest net gain since the October 2001 year (1,700). The decrease in net migration, compared with 2010, was mainly due to an increase in departures to Australia.

Geoff Bascand 19 August 2011
Government Statistician



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