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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Chinese New Year boosts January visitor arrivals – Media release

16 March 2020

The earlier timing of Chinese New Year boosted the number of visitor arrivals from China in January 2020, Stats NZ said today.

This increase was just before any travel ban imposed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

“Monthly arrivals from China typically peak in January or February each year, depending on the timing of Chinese New Year,” population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said.

The 2020 Chinese New Year started in late January before any travel ban. In 2019 it started in early February, and in 2018 it started in mid-February.

The number of visitor arrivals from other parts of Asia such as Hong Kong and Taiwan also increased in January 2020, most likely due to the Chinese New Year timing.

Looking ahead to the year to 23 February, provisional numbers indicate that visitor arrivals from China dropped roughly 40 percent in 2020 compared with the same seven-and-a-half weeks in 2019 and 2018. There were 20,200 visitor arrivals from China in the week ending 26 January, but this fell to under 1,000 in the week to 23 February.

In late January 2020, the Chinese government banned sales in China of international group tours.

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 and has since extended this to other countries.

“These measures aimed to contain the spread of COVID-19. This has seen a significant drop in the number of overseas visitor arrivals from China since January,” Mr Islam said.

As of 16 March, every person entering New Zealand from anywhere in the world will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, excluding the Pacific.

See Major steps taken to protect New Zealanders from COVID-19 for more detail.

In January 2020, the total number of visitor arrivals to New Zealand increased 3 percent to 410,800 compared with January 2019. The largest increases were from China, up 6,500 (15 percent) and from Australia, up 4,500 (3 percent).

Provisional international travel statistics are an early indication of short-term travellers arriving in and departing from New Zealand. The figures are provisional and understate arrivals, as not all arrival cards have been processed at the time of publication. Data for February 2020 will be finalised and published on 14 April 2020, in International travel: February 2020.

The total number of overseas visitor arrivals for the year ended January 2020 was 3.9 million, up 0.4 percent from the year ended January 2019.

More New Zealand-resident travellers arrive home

New Zealand residents arrived home from 326,300 overseas trips in the January 2020 month, up 2 percent from January 2019.

The largest increases came from Australia, up 3,800 (3 percent) and Japan, up 1,900 (28 percent).

The number of short-term travellers arriving back from China was 19,800 in January 2020, almost identical to the number in January 2019.

The total number of New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals for the year ended January 2020 was 3.1 million, up 3 percent from the year ended January 2019.

MIL OSI