Record breaking number of people visited New Zealand in 12 months to September 2017

by Ray Clancy on October 23, 2017

A record breaking 3.68 million people visited New Zealand in the year to September 2017, with an increase in arrivals from Australia, the United States and the UK, official figures show.

It means that year on year the number of people visiting New Zealand has increased by 9% and in September alone there were 252,700, some 3% more than the number recorded in the same month in 2016.

(Ralf Broskvar/

The average length of stay was 19 days, in keeping with the average length of stay in the last 20 years, which ranges from 19 days to 22 days with visitors from Europe spending the longest time in New Zealand with an average of 33 days.

According to population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan, European visitors tend to stay longer due to the long distance travelled to get to New Zealand, but he also revealed that a large number from Europe are working holiday makers who tend to stay longer.

Visitors arriving from Oceania stayed for an average of 12 days, the shortest average length of stay and half of all visitors to New Zealand stayed for less than nine days in the September 2017 year.

The largest group of visitors was from Oceania, making up 45% of arrivals, followed by 26% from Asia and 16% from Europe. About 12% of visitor arrivals were from the Americas, and 1% from Africa and the Middle East.

The data also shows that New Zealand residents departed on 273,600 overseas trips, up 2% from September 2016. The biggest increases in resident departures were to Fiji, the UK and China while the biggest decreases were to Australia and the US. Indeed, trips to Australia saw a large drop of 7,200.

New Zealand residents took a record 2.79 million overseas trips in the September 2017 year, up 10% from the September 2016 year. Of all resident departures, 43% were for holidays and 37% were for visiting friends and relatives.