Auckland has been named in the top 20 cities in the world for international students, ranking higher than New York and Amsterdam.

The Super City finished 18th equal with Brisbane in the QS Best Student Cities 2016 index, which showcases the best urban destinations for international students based on a range of indicators that are grouped into five key categories.

Paris was ranked number one for 2016, followed by Melbourne, Tokyo, Sydney and London.

Singapore, Montreal, Hong Kong, Berlin and Seoul rounded out the top 10.

Advertisement

The annual list is based on university rankings, affordability, student mix, desirability, and employer activity.

Auckland moved up four places from last year and is the only New Zealand city to make the top 20.

Christchurch ranked 47th.

There are four Australian cities in the top 20 -- Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane -- which is more than any other country.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) said Auckland's rise up the list was largely driven by a high score for "student mix".

This reflected the large and diverse student community in Auckland, the council-controlled organisation said, which combined with Auckland's inclusive and tolerant culture.

Other high scores for Auckland came in the desirability category (overall quality of life) and the employer activity category.

It did not score as well in the affordability category, however, thanks to comparatively high tuition fees and living costs.

Ateed's general manager, destination and marketing, Vivien Bridgwater said the rankings highlighted the city's growing popularity for students from overseas.

"The upwards shift in the QS index and the results revealed in the latest Education New Zealand International Education Snapshot show the sector is thriving," she said.

Ms Bridgwater said Auckland received more than 65,000 international enrolments between January and August this year, which is up 15 per cent -- or 8311 enrolments -- compared with the same period in 2014.

"Aside from the direct spending on fees, accommodation and living costs, students are often visited by family and friends, and they take part in tourist experiences, making them great ambassadors for Auckland.

"These students can also help fill Auckland's current shortage of skilled workers. Ateed works with partners to ensure the right pathways are put in place to keep talented students in the region after their studies."

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said international students were worth more than $1.6 billion to the Auckland economy and that this value had been increasing annually.

"It's fantastic to see Auckland shifting up in the international rankings and, with a 62 per cent share of the New Zealand market, is firmly in front as the top choice for international students," Mr Brown said.

"Auckland is an exciting place to live and learn for international students, offering the benefits of a world-class education system and the ultimate lifestyle, and we look forward to welcoming even more students in the years to come."

The top 20 student cities in 2016 are:

1. Paris

2. Melbourne

3. Tokyo

4. Sydney

5. London

6. Singapore

7. Montreal

8. Hong Kong

9. Berlin

10. Seoul

11. Munich

12. Zurich

13. Toronto

13. Vancouver

13. Boston

16. Vienna

17. Canberra

18. Auckland

18. Brisbane

20. New York

NZH

[NZME-NZG-NZC]

-NZH