Aussies flocked to our shores in droves in the year to September, with visitors from across the ditch exceeding 1.5 million over the 12 months, new figures show.
Total overseas visitor arrivals increased 94,300 to 3.9 million for the year, a far rosier picture than the one presented by Stats NZ in August, when accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said of arrivals to July: “International guest nights in commercial accommodation are trending down, as they have been for the past seven months.”
The organisation says 55,700 more Australians made the trip in the year to September, up 3.8 percent on the previous year, following a targeted media campaign Down Under and an increase in the number of flights between the two countries.
The rise in Australian visitors countered a decline in Asian ones, Stats NZ spokesperson Tehseen Islam saying: “The strong growth in the Australian market was dampened by a decline in visitor arrivals from the Asian region, in particular China and Malaysia.”
Aside from Australia, the largest movements were from the United States (up 28,600), Taiwan (up 10,400) and China (down 39,900).
While the government’s year of tourism focus failed to counteract China’s economic slowdown and trade tensions between the nations, New Zealand Chinese Travel and Tourism Association chair Simon Cheung told Stuff members’ bookings from now until Chinese New Year in late January were looking more promising.
“I think we are past the worst point. November is crazy, cheaper airfares end in mid November, so a lot of people want to come before that,” he said.
The positive news follows the release of the latest Colliers International New Zealand Hotel Market Snapshot Report 2019, which shows continued growth for the Kiwi tourism industry in the year to July despite a slowing of that growth in comparison to previous years.
Using statistics sourced from Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), Colliers reports the number of international visitors reached a record 3.9 million in July, with Wellington leading growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR) and recording a 6.8 percent annual increase, followed by Rotorua (3.3 percent) and Queenstown (2.8 percent). Christchurch RevPAR remained static while Auckland saw a 7.9 percent fall, a lack of major events compared to the previous year and the delayed opening of the NZ International Convention Centre reportedly limiting competition for rooms.
Consistent with previous years, Stats NZ reports most Aussie visitors were from New South Wales, followed by Queensland and Victoria. More than three-quarters of them were here to take a holiday or to spend time with family and friends and around a quarter of all visitor arrivals from Australia were New Zealand citizens.