Go New Zealand

This site was created to on-line information regarding local shopping, travel, business and studying for traveller.   As the number of international visitor arrivals to New Zealand reached 2.045 million in 2002.  Over the last ten years, the average annual growth rate was 6.8%.  Visitor numbers have doubled virtually every ten years.

During the last three decades, there were only two occasions when visitor numbers decreased: once in 1991 during the Gulf War and another during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.   The September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US resulted in fewer visitors in the fourth quarter but the annual total ended with a 6.7% growth, followed by a 7.1% growth in 2002.

Countries of Visitors Visiting New Zealand

Over 200 countries provided visitors to New Zealand in recent years. However, about three-quarters of the visitors came from seven key markets.

In 2002, New Zealand's largest market was Australia (632,000 or 31% share), followed by:

United Kingdom (237,000 or 12%)

USA (205,000 or 10%)

Japan (174,000 or 8%)

South Korea (110,000 or 5%)

China (77,000 or 4%)

and Germany (49,000 or 2%)

The top four markets and Germany are more established markets that have been important sources of visitors for New Zealand for many years.   Also, in recent years New Zealand has experienced the emergence of new markets that have generated considerable growth. In particular, South Korea and China have emerged as New Zealand's fifth and sixth largest markets respectively.

Seasonality of Inbound Travel to New Zealand

The seasonal pattern of overseas visitors to New Zealand is highly regular and clearly associated with New Zealand's climatic seasons.   The high season occurs in the late spring and summer months (December-March), with a peak in December. The low season falls in the winter months, with a trough in May/June and less than half (40-45%) of the visitor numbers of the peak months.  The seasonal pattern varies considerably among the different markets. For example, visitors from Australian show relatively less swing between the high and low months, with a typical spike in December owing to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Visitor arrivals from Europe (mostly UK and Germany) are highly seasonal, focused around the summer period.  In the low months of May/June, visitor numbers are only about one-quarter of numbers in the peak summer months.  In contrast, visitor arrivals from Asia show less extreme swings, with the low being about half of the peak month.

Purpose of Visits to New Zealand

In 2002, over half of all visitors came with the main purpose of a holiday (53%).  Over one-quarter (26%) came to visit friends or relatives (VFR), 10% for business and 11% for other purposes - such as conferences, education and medical.  The proportion of VFR has risen in recent years due to a significant increase in immigration since the mid-1990s, when VFR comprised 21% of all visitors while the holidays share was higher at 58%.  There is considerable variation in the purpose of visits from different countries. For example, in 2002, holiday visitors comprised a high proportion of visitors from Japan (84%), Germany (78%) and USA (65%).

There is a relatively high proportion of VFR visitors from Australia (35%) and UK (38%), because of historical links and migration of friends/relatives to New Zealand.  Of the 1.074 million holiday visitors in 2002, two-thirds came from five key markets: Australia, Japan, USA, UK and South Korea.   There were over half a million VFR visitors (522,000) with three-quarters from five key markets: Australia, UK, USA, Pacific Islands, and South Korea.

Among the 214,000 business visitors three-quarters came from four countries: Australia accounted for over half (55%), followed by USA (8.8%), China (8.4%) and UK (4.2%).

Note: International visitors often have multiple purposes during their visits to New Zealand, for example, combining visiting friends or relatives with holiday. However, statistics are collected for each traveler's main purpose only. 

Length of Stay for visitors to New Zealand

International visitors stayed on average 22 days during their visits in 2002, one day longer than in 2001.

In 2002, the average length of stay varied significantly depending on the purpose of visits: Holiday (17.7 days), VFR (25.7), Business (12.9) and Conference/Convention (8.2).

Half of all international visitors stayed in New Zealand for less than 11 days. These short-stay visitors tended to be here for a Holiday, Business or attending Conferences/Conventions. Those who came for the purpose of Education or Visiting Friends/Relatives tended to stay considerably longer.

The different mix of purposes of visit from the different markets produces large variations in the average length of stay. For example, Australia (13 days on average), Japan (16), US (17), South Korea (21), UK (32), Germany (38) and China (43).

Visitors from Japan, South Korea and China had a large proportion of short-stayers, around 60% staying up to one week. In contrast, visitors from Germany and UK had relatively high proportion (30-40%) staying over one month. Visitors from China also had a relatively high proportion (24%) of long stayers, mainly students, which contributed to the high average length of stay.

Visitor's Age & Gender

International visitors are spread across all ages with the highest proportion in the 25-29 years age group, followed by 30-34 years. The age distribution in 2002 was as follows:

Under 20 years (13%)

20's (20%)

30's (19%)

40's (17%)

50's (16%)

60+ (15%)

The age distribution varies greatly in different markets. For example, Australian visitors are spread quite evenly across the 25-55 age group.  UK visitors are concentrated in the 20-34 and 65+ age groups. US visitors are older, with half in the 50+ age group and 18% in the 65+ group.  Japanese visitors are concentrated in the older (50+) and younger brackets (15-19 and 25-29).  Visitors from China had a high proportion in the 35-49 age group (42%).  German visitors include more younger travellers, with over half in their 20's-30's.  In 2002 international visitors comprised 52% male and 48% female. Visitors from China had a high proportion of males (62%) while visitors from Japan (56%) and Taiwan (58%) had more females.

Updated On: 15.02.12

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