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Earlier Easter boosts visitor arrivals

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Visitors to New Zealand increased 11 percent in March 2012, compared with March 2011, Statistics New Zealand said today. Earlier Easter and Australian school holidays were a key reason for the rise. The increase was also partly a recovery after visitor numbers dropped following the Christchurch earthquake.

"Even though Good Friday fell on 6 April this year, more people generally travel in the lead up to holiday periods," Population Statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said. "Of the 24,400 extra visitors in March 2012, 18,100 more came in the last 10 days of the month."

Visitors from China were up 8,700 from March 2011, the second-highest monthly increase ever from that country. There were 8,400 more arrivals from Australia because of the earlier holidays.

In the March 2012 year, 2.618 million visitors arrived in New Zealand, up 4 percent from 2011. The largest increases were in visitors from Australia, China, and Malaysia. The largest decrease was in visitors from Japan.

New Zealand residents took 153,000 overseas trips in March 2012, up 7 percent from March 2011. The majority of the increase was in the last five days of the month, in the lead up to the Easter and school holidays. In the March 2012 year, New Zealand residents took 2.127 million overseas trips, up 4 percent from 2011.

New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain of 100 migrants in March 2012. This is only the second monthly net gain since the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch.

Unadjusted figures showed 600 more arrivals and 400 fewer departures of non-New Zealand citizens in March 2012. There were also 300 more departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia.

The number of Christchurch residents migrating overseas in March 2012 (600) returned to a level similar to March 2010 (500). Departures from Christchurch in March 2011 (1,100) jumped following the previous month's devastating earthquake.

New Zealand had a net loss of 3,400 migrants in the March 2012 year. Annual net migration has been negative since the October 2011 year, and peaked at 4,100 in the February 2012 year. In the March 2012 year, there was a net loss of 39,500 people to Australia, the highest ever recorded. There were 53,200 departures to Australia (also a record), offset by 13,800 arrivals from Australia. In both directions, most migrants were New Zealand citizens.

In the March 2012 year, there were net gains of migrants from most other countries, led by the United Kingdom (5,500), India (5,200), and China (5,000).

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