25 Feb 2016

Travel records continue to tumble

6:29 pm on 25 February 2016

The number of people coming to New Zealand to work and play is continuing to break records.

Auckland Airport's

Auckland airport. Photo: 123rf

A record 65,900 permanent and long-term migrants settled here in the year to January according to official figures - the 18th consecutive month at a record level.

The country's robust economy was continuing to draw people, including returning New Zealanders, Britons on working holidays and students from India and China.

Fewer locals were leaving permanently, especially to Australia, with the gap between those heading across the Tasman and those arriving at its widest since late 1991.

Tourism also continued to flourish, with January visitor numbers hitting their highest ever level, helped along by Chinese New Year.

The tourism industry is delighted with the latest figures on New Zealand's appeal to overseas visitors - 3.17 million came here in the year to the end of January.

That is up 10.7 percent on the previous year.

The inflow was boosted by significant growth from China, with total arrivals up 42.5 percent for the year.

The United States also showed significant growth with total arrivals up 11.7 percent.

Tourism New Zealand said the US was a stand out market and it praised Air New Zealand's new air route to Houston.

It puts the growing number of tourists down to several factors, including a lower dollar and international growth dating back to the Rugby World Cup in 2011, as well as to attention stemming from the Hobbit films.

There were also a record number of trips overseas for a holiday by New Zealanders, with Australia the most popular destination.