International visitor arrivals topped 2.8 million in the year to September as New Zealand edges closer to welcoming a record 3 million annual visitors.
Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show an almost 5 percent increase in visitor arrivals and points to strong growth out of Germany and the United States.
Emerging markets including Indonesia and Brazil are also performing well, reflecting a marketing push in those areas by Tourism New Zealand.
New Zealand's biggest market, Australia, remains solid, with holiday arrivals up 4 percent.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said of particular note is the change in the types of Chinese visitor.
Twelve months on from a change in Chinese law, which made cheap shopping trips illegal, there has been a big increase in free independent Chinese visitors.
Mr Bowler said that indicates a shift towards higher value Chinese tourists, who spend more money and stay longer.