Australian tourists are coming to visit in their droves, according to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand.

The tourism industry, feeling the squeeze ever since the recession began, finally enjoyed a lift in September.

SNZ figures published today show 172,400 short term overseas visitors arrived in this country in September.

That was up 9 per cent from September 2008 and above the previous high for a September month of 168,800 in 2007.

But it was the trans-tasman flow that really boomed.

Last month's total was boosted by an increase of 15 per cent or 12,600 visitors from Australia, compared to September 2008. Among the visitors from Australia, there was an increase of 9100 or 25 per cent in those here for a holiday and a rise of 4400 or 17 per cent in those visiting friends or relatives.

Visitor numbers from the United States were up 900 or 10 per cent from a year earlier, but still slightly down from September 2007.

Numbers from China were up 800 or 15 per cent from a year earlier, the first rise since March 2009 but still 1900 lower than September 2007, SNZ said.

Between June and November last year, large decreases were recorded in monthly visitor arrivals from China following an earthquake there in May and the Beijing Olympic Games in August.

Visitor numbers from Korea fell 1500 or 33 per cent in September from a year earlier, while the drop of 200 or 4 per cent from Japan was the lowest monthly fall since July 2008.

For the year to September, 2.43 million visitors arrived, down 43,900 or 2 per cent from a year earlier.

Australian visitors were up 8 per cent or 77,800 for the year, while numbers from Japan were down 32,500 or 29 per cent, those from Korea were down 31,700 or 37 per cent, visitors from Britain fell 29,600 or 10 per cent, and among visitors from China the decrease was 13,800 or 12 per cent.

During the month of September New Zealand residents left on 193,300 short term overseas trips, a rise of 1200 or 1 per cent on a year earlier.

September was the second consecutive month in which departures increased from a year earlier, following nine months of decline.

- NZPA