Growth maintained into 2012 and summer season

Visitor arrival figures released today confirm that growth has been maintained in January with the number of overseas arrivals up 2.7 per cent year on year, and up 0.5 per cent for the same month last year.

Tourism New Zealand's Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says, "This saw a record January, with overseas visitor arrivals hitting 266,800 for the first time. This is a significant result with both China and Australia continuing to show strong growth."

Statistics New Zealand's International Travel and Migration figures show arrivals from Asia grew, with Singapore up 26.1 per cent, Malaysia up 97.6 per cent and China up a staggering 60.4 per cent against the same month last year.

"The significant growth seen in China can be attributed to the earlier celebration of the Chinese New Year in January this year, which fell in February in 2011. Our work to maximize bookings for this key travel period for Chinese as they travel to be with family really delivered some great results and continues in market to maintain this growth as we head in to the winter season.

"Australia, our largest offshore market, also maintained growth with arrivals up 1.6 per cent.  The lift in visitors travelling on holiday and visiting family and relatives follows our summer South Island Road Trip campaign which communicated the convenient interconnectivity between regions and gateways in the South Island."

The growth seen in the USA is also positive with arrivals up 0.3 per cent for the period.

"While we continue to see growth in arrivals from Australia and Asia, the growth from the USA for the second consecutive month is also encouraging. This has been a challenging market and we are hopeful that this may signal a recovery for the USA.

"The traditional long haul markets of Germany and UK continue to be affected by economic uncertainty with markets both down against the same month last year. Our activity in these key long haul markets is focused on leveraging awareness generated during the Rugby World Cup which remain vitally important in our marketing priorities."