More Australians visiting and moving to New Zealand, official data shows

by Ray Clancy on November 28, 2017

More Australian tourists and visitors are arriving in New Zealand to boost the nation’s overall visitor numbers to record levels, the latest official figures show.

Overall there were a record 3.69 million visitors to New Zealand in the year to October 2017, a rise of 8% and surpassing the previous peak of 3.67 million in the year to September 2017.

Australia New Zealand


‘Over the past five years, annual visitor arrivals have regularly hit record highs, and have risen by over one million, or 40%, since the upward trend began in 2013,’ said population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan.

A breakdown of the figures show that there were 590,700 holidaymakers from Australia in the October 2017 year, up 6.7% percent from the October 2016 year. Arrivals from Australia to visit friends and family were 563,900, up 3.7% and the total number of visitors from Australia rose 5.3% to 1.46 million in the October 2017 year.

Holidaymakers from the United States also increased, up 19% to 207,600 in the October 2017 year.

The figures also reveal that people living in New Zealand took a record 2.83 million overseas trips in the October 2017 year, up 11% on the October 2016 year. Annual resident departures have been at record highs since the year ended September 2014 and Australia was the top spot for overseas travel, with 1.21 million trips there in the October 2017 year.

In terms of people moving to live in New Zealand there was a net gain of 70,700 migrants for the year ended October 2017, with 131,600 migrant arrivals and 61,000 migrant departures. It means that net migration remained high by historical standards but was lower than the peak of 72,400 in the July 2017 year.

‘Non-New Zealand citizen migrant arrivals continued to drive the high net migration levels. The fall in annual net migration from the peak in the July 2017 year was mainly caused by an increase in non-New Zealand citizen migrant departures,’ Dolan explained.

A record 27,400 non-New Zealand citizen migrants departed in the October 2017 year, up 1.6% from the September 2017 year and up 22% from the October 2016 year.

Often, travellers’ stated intentions do not match with what they actually do in terms of staying in New Zealand. For example, people classified as overseas visitors by the PLT measure will be classified as migrants by the outcomes-based measure if they stay in New Zealand longer than they originally intended for more than 12 out of the next 16 months.

‘Using an outcomes-based measure of defining migrants gives a clearer picture of the migration patterns in New Zealand. The data this month is the first release to include the regular outcomes based migration series,’ Dolan pointed out.

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