25 Apr 2012

Tourist numbers on the rise

9:23 am on 25 April 2012

Visitor arrivals have reached their highest number since the global financial crisis, with more than 2.5 million people coming here last year.

Statistics New Zealand figures show 24,400 more visitors arrived in March than the same month last year, an 11% rise.

In the March 2012 year, 2.618 million visitors arrived in New Zealand, up 4% from 2011.

The largest increases were in visitors from Australia, China, and Malaysia. The largest decrease was in visitors from Japan.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says last year's figures were affected by the Christchurch earthquake.

Mr Bowler says it has taken some time for numbers to grow, and the successful hosting of the Rugby World Cup last year helped send the message it is a good time to visit New Zealand.

Visitors from China were up 8,700 from March 2011, the second-highest monthly increase ever from that country.

There were 8,400 more arrivals from Australia because of the earlier holidays.