Fewer visitors from China but more from the United States in January
Short-term overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand numbered 260,600 in January 2013. This was down 2 percent from both January 2012 (266,800) and January 2011 (265,600).
Visitor arrivals by country of residence
The biggest changes in visitors by country of residence between January 2012 and January 2013 were in arrivals from:
- the United States (up 3,500)
- Australia (up 2,200)
- Malaysia (down 1,100)
- Hong Kong (down 1,500)
- the United Kingdom (down 2,400)
- China (down 4,600).
Visitor arrivals from the United States numbered 24,300 in January 2013 – the highest for a January month since January 2008 (26,000), and an increase of 17 percent from the January 2012 figure (20,800). There were 85 percent more cruise passengers (up 1,700) from the United States this month than in January 2012. This increase in cruise passengers was half of the total increase (3,500) from the United States.
From within Australia, there were more visitors from Queensland (up 2,600) but fewer from New South Wales (down 1,400).
The 27,500 visitors from the United Kingdom were down 8 percent from the previous year. Arrivals from the United Kingdom have decreased in most months since April 2007, just after the start of the global economic downturn.
Visitor arrivals from China numbered 18,800 in January 2013, a decrease of 20 percent from the January 2012 figure (23,300). Visitor arrivals from both China and Hong Kong are generally boosted around Chinese New Year. This year Chinese New Year was on February 10, whereas in 2012 it was on January 23.
Visitor arrivals by travel purpose
The biggest changes in visitors by travel purpose between January 2012 and January 2013 were in arrivals for:
- holidays (down 3,300)
- visiting friends and relatives (down 5,100).
The fall in the number of holidays was a result of both decreases and increases in different countries. There were decreases from China (down 4,200) and Hong Kong (down 1,200), partly offset by increases from the United States (up 3,000) and from Australia (up 1,900).
The fall in arrivals to visit friends and relatives was also a result of decreases in different countries. There were decreases from the United Kingdom (down 1,000), China (down 900), and Australia (down 700).
More annual visitor arrivals from China, fewer from the UK
There were 2.558 million visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the January 2013 year. This was down 2 percent from the January 2012 year (2.603 million), which was boosted by visitor arrivals for the Rugby World Cup. However, the 2013 figure was up 1 percent compared with the January 2011 year.
Annual visitor arrivals from China were up 25 percent (38,100) from the January 2012 year. This was due to an overall increase in total international outbound travel from China in recent years.
The increase from China was countered by fewer visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom (down 38,600), due to the global economic downturn. Fewer visitor arrivals from France (down 11,800) and South Africa (down 10,200) followed increases the previous year during the Rugby World Cup.
There were large changes in the purpose of visits. Holidaymakers decreased 48,900 when compared with the January 2012 year, whereas travellers visiting friends and relatives increased 10,800. New Zealanders now living in Australia made up most of the increase in arrivals visiting friends and relatives.
For more detailed data about visitor arrivals, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.
Fewer residents depart in January
New Zealand residents departed on 121,000 overseas trips in January 2013, down 6 percent from January 2012 (129,100), but 3 percent higher than January 2011 (117,700).
Overseas trips by country of main destination
The biggest changes in overseas trips by country of main destination (where the person will spend the most time) between January 2012 and January 2013 were in trips to:
- India (up 700)
- Fiji (down 800)
- China (down 1,000)
- Malaysia (down 1,100)
- Australia (down 1,400).
New Zealand residents take more overseas trips in the year
Trips by New Zealand residents in the January 2013 year (2.161 million) rose 3 percent from the January 2012 year (2.104 million).
The biggest increases were in trips to the United States (up 16,300) and Australia (up 10,300). Over recent decades, changes in the number of trips to the United States have followed changes in the exchange rate.
In the January 2013 year, residents also made more trips to a number of Pacific island destinations, including the Cook Islands (up 5,800) and Samoa (up 3,700). There were also more trips to Thailand (up 5,100), Japan (up 4,100), and India (up 3,400).
For more detailed data on overseas trips by New Zealand residents, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.
Net gain of 400 migrants in January
Seasonally adjusted permanent and long-term (PLT) migration figures showed a net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 400 migrants in January 2013. Over the past year, net migration fluctuated between positive and negative figures, averaging zero migrants.
The seasonally adjusted net loss of 2,600 migrants to Australia in January 2013 was the smallest net loss since February 2011 (2,500). Since the start of the series in 1996, the highest-ever net loss to Australia was 4,300 in February 2001. This was just before the eligibility of New Zealand citizens to access certain welfare benefits in Australia was changed on 26 February 2001.
Net migration zero for the year
Unadjusted figures showed there were 85,700 PLT arrivals in the January 2013 year, 2 percent more than the 83,600 migrants in the January 2012 year. PLT departures numbered 85,600, down 1 percent from the 86,700 the previous year. This resulted in net migration of zero in the January 2013 year.
There has been an annual net loss of migrants since the October 2011 year, peaking at 4,100 in the February and August 2012 years.
Auckland and Canterbury were the only regions to gain migrants, with arrivals outnumbering departures by 3,800 and 700, respectively. Following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, departures from Canterbury increased, and arrivals decreased. In the last few months, the number of arrivals and departures have returned to pre-quake levels, and there has been a net inflow of migrants to Canterbury. In the January 2013 year, Canterbury had a net gain of 400 technicians and trade workers, whereas in 2011 and 2012 there were net losses. This net gain is mostly construction workers (300) – a direct result of rebuilding in Christchurch.
There was a net loss of 37,900 people to Australia in the January 2013 year. This is down from the record net loss of 40,000 in the August 2012 year. The January figure resulted from 53,100 departures to Australia, offset by 15,100 arrivals from Australia. In both directions, most migrants were New Zealand citizens.
There were net gains of migrants from most other countries in the January 2013 year, led by:
- the United Kingdom (5,700)
- China (5,500)
- India (5,000)
- the Philippines (2,100)
- Germany (1,700)
- Ireland (1,200).
For more detailed data about permanent and long-term migration, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.