New Zealand proves popular with Chinese visitors, latest official data shows

by Ray Clancy on June 23, 2015

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand increased by 10% in May compared to the same month in 2014 with growth being driven by the Chinese, the latest published figures show.

There were 176,700 visitors in the month of May 2015 with the number from China up by 45%, most of them arriving on holiday visas, according to the data from Statistics New Zealand.

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The number of Chinese visitors to New Zealand rose by 45% in the month of May

On a year-on-year basis, arrivals in the 12 months to May 2015 reached 2.98 million, a rise of 7% from the May 2014 year. Again, the biggest increase was in visitor arrivals from China which were up 70,200, particularly for holidays with a rise of 55,200.

The data also shows that more New Zealand residents are visiting Australia, up 6% from May 2014. The biggest increase was in trips to Australia, up 3,700 for the May month and 43,300 for the May year, compared with 2014.

New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain, which is more arrivals than departures of 5,100 migrants in May 2015. Population statistics manager Vina Cullum said that net migration has been fluctuating around this level for the last nine months, recently peaking at 5,500 in January 2015.

This was the second month in a row that New Zealand has had a seasonally adjusted net gain of 100 migrants from Australia. Before April 2015 there had not been a net gain in migrants from Australia in over 20 years since 1991.

Annual permanent and long term migration showed a record net gain of 57,800 migrants in the May 2015 year. Annual net migration has been setting new records for the last 10 months.

In the May 2015 year, New Zealand had the smallest annual net loss of migrants to Australia since 1992. This was due to increased arrivals of both New Zealand and non-New Zealand citizens, and fewer New Zealand citizen departures to Australia.

Meanwhile, the law is to be changed to make adult New Zealand passports valid for 10 years.

This will result in a reduction in the annual price of an adult passport for New Zealanders while child passports will remain valid for five years.

‘The change to a 10-year passport from the existing five-year passport will require a law change to the Passports Act 1992, and I am aiming to have the change in place by the end of the year. People will be able to apply for an adult passport once the new law comes into effect,’ said Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne.

‘In the current climate of international uncertainty, it is essential the Government continues to invest in technology and security, as New Zealanders expect their travel document to retain its exceptional levels of trust and integrity,’ he explained.

‘We must safeguard the highly trusted international reputation of our passport which allows Kiwis the freedom to visit approximately 170 countries without applying for a visa. Likewise, investing in services that make it more convenient for the travelling public to access their passports is also essential, and unlike our main counterpart countries, we already provide a service for renewing adult passports entirely online,’ he added.

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