The data, released today by Statistics New Zealand, shows total visitor arrivals for the year up 6.9 per cent and holiday arrivals up 9.8 per cent.
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says "It is fantastic to see such strong visitor growth extending well past the traditional holiday season. Tourism New Zealand's new strategy to focus efforts on driving arrivals growth in the shoulder seasons will push this even further.
"This month's arrivals bring us ever closer to an annual arrivals figure of three million, a new milestone for the New Zealand tourism industry.
"The US and Germany were outstanding performers over summer and both have maintained significant growth across the shoulder season with US holiday arrivals up 12.0 per cent and Germany up 8.0 per cent for the year ending May," says Kevin.
"Holiday arrivals out of the UK are up 7.6 per cent for the same period, painting a positive picture for our target Western markets.
"Australia has seen another great month with holiday arrivals up 2.2 per cent for the year which is fantastic off a base of over 480,000 annually.
"We expect to see this grow in the coming months as our winter marketing activity gains momentum in market with the 'More magic in every day' campaign, encouraging Australians to cross the ditch for a winter getaway.
"China continues to deliver outstanding growth, with total arrivals for the year ending May up 29.3 and holiday arrivals up 31.1 per cent."
Earlier this month, with the help of Tourism New Zealand, Chinese mega-star Huang Lei, last seen in New Zealand on season two of reality show 'Dad, where are we going?' returned with his wife and daughters for a family holiday celebrating the couple's 20 years together.
The visit presented an incredible opportunity to showcase New Zealand as a family friendly holiday destination in China, with news of the visit alone generating more than 530 media articles with an equivalent advertising value of more than 2.7 million dollars.
Growth has been further supported by strong holiday arrivals across Tourism New Zealand's other target Asian markets with Singapore up 9.6 per cent, Malaysia up 12.2 per cent and Korea up 19.3 per cent.
"Looking at the emerging India market, May is a traditional holiday period as Indian visitors escape the hot Indian summer, and the staggering growth we have seen this year (up 30.0 per cent) reinforces the potential we see from this market and supports our increased activity to drive arrivals."
Tourism New Zealand's two other priority emerging markets are also performing well with total arrivals from Brazil up 12.1 per cent, Indonesia up 6.0 per cent.
Contact Georgina Maguire, Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand
email@example.com; phone +64 21 478 659