"USA and Germany were stellar performers over summer and both have maintained significant growth across the shoulder season (USA holiday arrivals up 29.9 per cent and Germany up 19.4 per cent in May), delivering ongoing economic benefit to New Zealand and the industry as we head into the winter ski season," says Tourism New Zealand's General Manager Corporate Affairs Chris Roberts.
Total arrivals for the year-ending May were up 5.9 per cent, with most of that growth coming from additional holidaymakers - with annual holiday arrivals up 8.9 per cent.
The growth in arrivals was seen across key offshore markets, with significant holiday arrival growth from Japan up 73.9 per cent, and India, which is now in its peak travel season, up 31.1 per cent.
"This is the first growth we have seen from Japan in a number of months and is the result of a coordinated effort to drive shoulder season arrivals with Air New Zealand. It is really pleasing to see the additional capacity on the route and our own concerted marketing activity drive the growth we saw in May.
"Looking at the emerging India market, May is a traditional holiday period as Indian visitors escape the hot Indian summer, and the growth we have seen this year reinforces the potential we see from this market and supports our increased activity to drive arrivals."
Holiday arrivals grew across Asia with Singapore up 61.5 per cent, Malaysia up 19.2 per cent, Korea up 22.5 per cent and Hong Kong up 53.6 per cent, while arrivals from China in May were relatively flat with a 1.3 per cent increase.
"For China we are continuing to see a positive change in the visitor mix, with most of the growth coming from independent travellers, rather than short stay group tours. This is reflected by the increased length of stay for Chinese holiday visitors during May - up by more than 20 per cent year-on-year, to an average of 6.6 days."
Holiday visitors from New Zealand's largest market Australia were up a 5.9 per cent for the month, resulting in 7.4 per cent growth for the year ending May.
"May is normally a quieter travel period from Australia as visitors wait to visit during the winter ski season so this growth exceeds expectations and is fantastic to see.
"Just last week our work to promote a winter holiday was lifted to a new level with Australia's highest rating morning show Sunrise broadcast live from Queenstown, showcasing the range of winter activities to its 1.7 million viewers," says Chris.
Contact Leah McNeil, Senior Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand
firstname.lastname@example.org | phone +64 21 843 896