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Winter warmed by highest holiday visitors on record

New Zealand’s winter offering attracted record numbers of international holidaymakers.  

Tourism New Zealand welcomes today’s latest arrivals data which shows further growth in visitor numbers and heralds a promising start to the financial year. 

Nearly 317,000 people holidayed in New Zealand in the three months ending August compared to 268,272 in 2015 and 245,584 in 2014.

“New Zealand’s fantastic winter attractions and scenery continue to attract international holidaymakers,” says Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler.

“Showing significant growth was the American visitor holiday arrivals with an increase of 52 percent compared to last winter.”

“In July, American Airlines and United Airlines launched direct services to New Zealand - offering US travellers more choice than ever before.  Around 180 direct flights a month are now on offer to New Zealand from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hawaii and Houston.”

“We continue to prioritise support for the 30 percent increase in air capacity from the US and focus our marketing activity to encourage the 15 million Americans who we know are actively considering a holiday in New Zealand to make it a reality.”

“The increased flight connectivity means that New Zealand’s natural landscapes, unique visitor experiences; cuisine and world class conference facilities are now more accessible than ever to US citizens.”

“The winter data also shows continued strong growth in Australian visitors and this can be attributed to our concentrated campaign to encourage Australians to take a winter break here.”

“Research told us that Australians were looking for a holiday where they could enjoy the slopes as well as take time to explore the wider region. New Zealand’s ski fields cater well for this and are closely surrounded by a range of activities that make them an attractive offering.”  

“Holiday arrivals from China also continue to grow steadily with a whopping 29.1 percent year on year increase. We are seeing sustained growth in Chinese visitor arrivals to New Zealand over the last five years. Increased air capacity and joint marketing activity have helped this along.”

“Despite commentary that Brexit would have significant impact on UK holiday arrivals the UK market also continues to grow with 10.7 percent year on year growth.”

“The winter numbers come on the back of a great autumn period that also attracted record numbers and this bodes well as we head into spring.


Tourism New Zealand markets New Zealand to the world as a visitor destination. In the year ending August 2016, 3.3 million international visitors came to New Zealand. International tourism is one of New Zealand’s largest earners of foreign exchange, adding approximately NZ$11.8 billion annually to the nation’s economy.