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Queenstown visitor numbers snowball

The number of overseas visitors arriving at Queenstown airport increased by 7,100 (22 percent) in August 2019, compared with the same month last year, to reach 39,200, Stats NZ said today.

This was the largest monthly gain on record for overseas visitor arrivals in Queenstown.

“This strong growth followed an increase in Qantas seasonal flights between Queenstown and Melbourne from late June to August 2019,” population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said.

“It also coincided with the annual Winter Games NZ, which were held in Queenstown from late August to early September.”

About four in five overseas visitors arriving at Queenstown airport were from Australia.

Overseas visitors arriving at Christchurch and Wellington airports in August 2019 increased by 1,300 and 900 respectively, compared with the same month last year. Overseas visitor arrivals at Auckland airport fell by 4,100.


The total number of overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand was 251,100 in August 2019, up by 4,400 from the same month last year.

There were solid gains from the Australian market, tempered by falls in visitor numbers from Malaysia and China. The largest changes were from:
• Australia – up 5,800
• Taiwan – up 1,800
• Malaysia – down 2,300
• China – down 2,200.

AirAsia suspended its flights from Kuala Lumpur (in Malaysia) via Coolangatta (on Australia’s Gold Coast) to Auckland early this year, which may have impacted visitor arrivals from Malaysia.

Annual visitor arrivals increased by 96,100 (2.5 percent) to 3.9 million for the year ended August 2019, compared with the year ended August 2018.

“This is the slowest annual growth in an August year since 2013, down from a peak of 11 percent in the year ended August 2016,” Mr Islam said.

The largest increase in annual visitor arrivals was seen at Auckland airport (up by 47,200) followed by Queenstown airport (up by 33,300).

New Zealand-resident traveller returns level off in August 2019

The number of New Zealand residents returning from an overseas trip in August 2019 was similar to the number for the same month last year. The major changes in the countries New Zealand-resident travellers returned from were:
• Australia – up 3,000
• Indonesia – up 1,100
• Fiji – down 2,500
• Vietnam – down 1,300.

Sydney is still the most common overseas airport for New Zealand travellers

The most common overseas airport for New Zealand-resident travellers to fly back through at year ended August 2019 continues to be Sydney. The top four common overseas airports were:
• Sydney, with 539,900 New Zealand resident travellers
• Melbourne, with 399,300
• Brisbane, with 361,200
• Nadi, with 201,600.

The overseas airport of a passenger’s flight is the last airport where they boarded an aircraft before arriving in New Zealand, though they may have started their return trip from another airport.


The total number of New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals for the year ended August 2019 was 3.07 million, up 88,500 (3.0 percent) from the year ended August 2018.

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