21 May 2013

Tourist numbers hit record for April month

6:56 pm on 21 May 2013

More than 200,000 people visited New Zealand in April, a record for that month.

Statistics New Zealand says arrivals were up 4900 to 200,600 last month - an increase of 3% on April last year.

The visitor figure was the highest ever for an April, surpassing the previous record of two years ago.

More visitors came from China and Australia, but this was offset by fewer visitors from the United Kingdom, Malaysia, France, and South Africa.

There were 2.6 million visitors to New Zealand in the year to April, about the same as the year before.

A senior economist at ANZ Bank, Sharon Zollner, says the visitor numbers are looking remarkably robust despite the New Zealand dollar being a significant headwind for the tourism industry.

"And also the economies in the traditional sources of our tourists are not doing particularly well either. But what we are seeing is a structural surge in arrivals of tourists from Asia - tourism numbers out of China are up 37% year on year.

"So that's providing a really valuable offset."

Meanwhile, New Zealand has had its fourth month of migration gains with more people arriving and fewer New Zealand citizens departing for Australia.

The country had a seasonally adjusted net gain of 1600 in April, the highest since January 2010.