Annual International Visitor Arrivals Grow by 4.4 per cent

The release of today's visitor arrival figures show continued growth with 2.618 million visitor arrivals for the March 2012 year, up 4.4 per cent year to date.

The International Travel and Migration figures released today by Statistics New Zealand, confirmed monthly arrivals grew by 11.3 per cent for March 2012 compared to March 2011.

Commenting on the results, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says: "The strong increase in visitor arrivals for March is a great result. While we know that these are affected by factors such as an earlier Easter and Australian school holidays, and reflect on a weak March in 2011 caused by the earthquakes, they have lead to a strong annual result which is very positive."

The continued growth from key markets such as Australia and Asia shows the importance of these markets to the tourism industry.

Arrivals from Australia were up by 56,300 overall, a 5.1 per cent growth for the year. Holiday arrivals were also up by 3.7 per cent year to date.

Growth was maintained throughout Asia with arrivals from China up 23.7 per cent, Malaysia up 72.9 per cent, Singapore up by 28.8 per cent and Indonesia up 22.5 per cent for the year.

"South Asia represents strong growth opportunities and will continue to be a focus of our marketing partnerships with airlines and travel sellers throughout the region.

"The increase in arrivals from Japan and Korea for the first time since the earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan shows some recovery in these markets. With both markets still down against 2010 arrival numbers it is clear there is still some work to do to support this return to growth."

The traditional markets of Germany, UK, Canada and USA also showed signs of recovery with arrivals up for the month of March versus the same month last year.

"An improvement in arrivals from these vitally important long haul Western markets is very pleasing given our sustained marketing in these markets over what has been a particularly challenging period," he concluded.

Issued by Leah Phelps, Senior Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand; phone +64 21 843 896