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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Visitor arrivals from China down in 2019 – Media release

17 February 2020

Visitor arrivals from China fell 9 percent to 407,100 in the December 2019 year compared with the December 2018 year, Stats NZ said today.

The annual number of visitor arrivals from China has been falling since early 2019.

“Recent travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus are expected to further affect the number of visitor arrivals from China, at least in the short term”, population indicators manager, Tehseen Islam said.

On 2 February 2020, the New Zealand Government placed temporary restrictions on entry into New Zealand for all foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through mainland China. The restrictions coincided with the usual peak travel period of Chinese New Year.  

“Monthly arrivals from China typically peak in January or February, depending on the timing of the Chinese New Year holiday period,” Mr Islam said. “In February 2019, about 50,000 visitors arrived from China and, in February 2018, the figure was about 70,000.”

While 407,100 visitors arrived from China in 2019, New Zealand residents also took 141,600 trips to China in the year ended December 2019.

The annual decrease in visitor arrivals from China was more than offset by an increase from other countries, especially Australia and the United States. Despite the fall in visitor arrivals from China, it has remained New Zealand’s second largest visitor market since December 2012.

Total visitor arrivals to New Zealand grew 0.7 percent to 3.89 million in 2019.

“This is the lowest annual growth in a December year since 2013, down from 12 percent growth in the year ended December 2016,” Mr Islam said. “The decline in visitor arrivals from China was a key factor in this.”

The largest annual changes were from:

  • Australia – up 43,400 to 1.54 million
  • United States – up 15,900 to 368,000
  • China – down 41,000 to 407,100
  • Malaysia – down 14,700 to 41,800.

In the December 2019 month, the total number of visitor arrivals was 528,200, down 0.2 percent when compared with December 2018.

Overseas visitors stayed longer in the December month

Overseas visitors arriving in December tend to stay longer than in other months. This is because more visit family and fri