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New Zealanders take more overseas trips than ever before

22 November 2018

Over 3 million New Zealand residents arrived back from overseas trips in the year ended October 2018, Stats NZ said today. This was up 175,100 from the October 2017 year.

More and more Kiwis have been taking overseas trips in recent years, with the number growing almost as fast as that for visitor arrivals. Only 10 years ago there were fewer than 2 million trips a year.

Australian school holidays boost visitor numbers

In October 2018, 283,600 visitors arrived in New Zealand, 13,100 more than in October 2017 – led largely by Australia. Visitor arrivals from Australia were up 9.7 percent when compared with October last year.

The largest movements for the month were:
• Australia (up 9,900)
• United States (up 3,100)
• Korea (down 2,200)
• China (down 1,600).

“More arrivals from Australia was partly due to their school holidays beginning later in September this year than last year,” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said.

“More holiday travel in October this year boosted our visitor numbers slightly from the same month in 2017.”

Down month for Asian arrivals

More arrivals from Australia helped compensate for a lower number of visitors from Asia. There were 75,200 visitor arrivals from Asia in October 2018, down 3.7 percent (2,900) from the same month last year.

For recent years Asia has been the fastest growing source region for visitors to New Zealand, which makes October’s fall rather unusual. Despite this fall, for the year ended October 2018 arrivals from Asia were up 8.7 percent (83,100), for a total of 1.04 million visitors.

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Departure cards are gone

From 5 November 2018, travellers leaving New Zealand no longer need to complete a passenger departure card. This change affects the release of travel and migration statistics in several ways.

New release schedule

Removing departure cards means changes to the timing and composition of this release. Statistics on short-term movements (including the current report International visitor arrivals to New Zealand) will be published in a new International travel release, and long-term movements in a new International migration release.

Both releases will be published on the same day, up to 30 working days after each reference month. November data, previously published just before Christmas, will now be published in January, and December data in February.

Release calendar

The new release schedule largely reflects the need to use integrated administrative data to provide place-of-residence in New Zealand for migrants and short-term resident travellers. This replaces information from the departure card. The timing is also affected by the new method to produce ‘provisional’ migration estimates.

Integrated Data Infrastructure provides the admin data.

More information

See Migration Data Transformation or email info@stats.govt.nz for more information.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:

• Visit International travel and migration: October 2018
• See Net migration is lowest since 2015
• See CSV files for download


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