Overseas holiday arrivals hit a new high last month, reaching 64,000 - up 12.8 per cent on the same month a year ago.

Tourism New Zealand says continued growth in holiday arrivals from Australia, USA and Germany and a strong rebound from Japan have driven a solid autumn.

The United States and Germany were "stellar performers" over summer and both have maintained significant growth across the shoulder season delivering ongoing economic benefit to New Zealand and the industry as we head into the winter ski season," said Tourism New Zealand's general manager of corporate affairs Chris Roberts.

Total arrivals for the year ending May - including those visiting friends and relatives and here for conferences - were up 5.9 per cent to 2.78 million.


The growth in arrivals last month was seen across key overseas markets, with significant holiday arrival growth from Japan up 73.9 per cent to 3088, and India, up 31.1 per cent to 2560.

"This is the first growth we have seen from Japan in a number of months and is the result of a co-ordinated effort to drive shoulder season arrivals with Air New Zealand," Roberts said.

"Looking at the emerging India market, May is a traditional holiday period as Indian visitors escape the hot Indian summer, and the growth we have seen this year reinforces the potential we see from this market ..."

New Zealanders are also travelling more, with 198,200 taking overseas trips in May, up 9 per cent from May 2013. In the year ended May, Kiwis took 2.23 million trips, up 3 per cent from last year.

Just over one million trips were to Australia followed by the United States, Fiji, Britain, China and the Cook Islands.