Chinese tourists drive record visitor numbers

The number of overseas visitors coming to this country hit a record for the month of August, with strong growth from China, although British numbers reached a decade low.

Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) figures published today put the number of visitor arrivals last month at 168,100, up 4 per cent from August 2009 to reach the highest number of visitors recorded for an August month.

The rise was primarily due to a large increase in visitors from China, who more than doubled from 4600 in August 2009 to 9700 last month, exceeding the previous August high of 9000 visitors from China in 2007, SNZ said.

"Visitor arrivals from China during the last two years were heavily affected by a number of events, including the global economic downturn, Sichuan earthquake, Beijing Olympics, and the H1N1 pandemic," SNZ acting population statistics manager Susan Hollows said.

Visitors from Japan were up last month after being affected by the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.

Visitors from Britain continued to decrease, dropping to 8800 visitors last month, the lowest for an August month since 1999.

Last month, New Zealand residents departed on 180,200 overseas trips, 2 per cent more than a year earlier, with more trips to the United States, Britain, the Cook Islands, and China.

The underlying trend, derived from the seasonally adjusted series, showed that visitor arrivals had hit an all-time high, edging past the previous high in November 2009, SNZ said.

Since September 2009, the series had exceeded levels seen before the global economic downturn.

The estimated average number of visitors in this country each day was 102,200 last month, up 2 percent from a year earlier.

For the year to August visitor numbers were up 4 per cent from a year earlier to 2.515m, with the number of visitors from Australia 9 per cent higher at 1.12m.

- NZPA

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