For the 12 months to the end of January, holiday arrivals are up 11.8 per cent, with total arrivals growing 7.5 per cent for the year, reaching 2.75 million.
"What is really positive is the growth is coming from developing Asian markets, traditional Western markets, and our nearest and biggest market, Australia," says Kevin Bowler, CE Tourism New Zealand.
"Holiday arrivals from the UK in January were up 11.9 per cent and Germany delivering amazing growth, up 22.9 per cent for the month.
"This is backed up with impressive holiday growth from Australia up 8.1 per cent for the month."
The early celebration of Chinese New Year, from 31 January, drove growth during January with China holiday arrivals up 73.3 per cent for the month.
"Comparatively, we expect to see China arrivals down during for February when we compare against last year's Chinese New Year period."
The growth was seen across the wider Asia region, with holiday arrivals from Hong Kong up a staggering 159.2 per cent, Singapore up 126.3 per cent and Malaysia up 104.2 per cent during the month.
The significance of the growth in arrivals for the economy was reiterated this week in the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment's Regional Tourism Indicators, which reported international visitor electronic card expenditure was up 13.3 per cent in January year-on-year.
"The consistent growth in arrivals and visitor expenditure has been delivering significant value to the tourism sector and the wider New Zealand economy over the last year," says Kevin.
There were declines in visitor arrivals in January from two important markets, Japan and US, but Kevin says this was expected.
"The decrease in arrivals from Japan, down 18.0 per cent for the month, is consistent with our forecasts due to reduced airline capacity over the summer season compared to last year.
"Last week we launched a campaign with Air New Zealand in Japan to leverage the existing high demand for a holiday to New Zealand and convert this into travel over the shoulder season."
Holiday arrivals from the US were affected by changing cruise ship patterns, seeing a decrease for the month. Total US holiday arrivals were up 16.2 per cent for the January year.
Kevin says, "Provisional arrivals numbers for February continue to be strong across a range of markets giving us confidence that we will see positive growth through the remainder of summer."
Contact Leah McNeil, Senior Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand
firstname.lastname@example.org; phone +64 21 843 896