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Chinese New Year affects tourists numbers

Published: 12:56PM Wednesday February 27, 2013 Source: ONE News / BusinessDesk

  • Chinese New Year celebrations at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland (Source: ONE News)
    Chinese New Year celebrations at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland - Source: ONE News

The number of tourists arriving in New Zealand last month was down 2% compared to a year ago, new figures show.

According to Statistics New Zealand, the decline was partly due to people from China and Hong Kong delaying their travel plans to coincide with Chinese New Year.

"China is our second-biggest source of overseas visitors," population statistics project manager Deb Potter said.

"Chinese New Year was in February this year compared with January last year. Chinese people generally travel more around the Chinese New Year holiday, so we had fewer visitors from China and Hong Kong this January," she said.

The latest international travel and migration figures show that the number of visitors from China dropped by 4600, and from Hong Kong by 1500.

However, Potter added that an increase in visitors from the United States and Australia partially compensated for this drop.

Compared to last year, there were 3500 more visitors from the US and 2200 from Australia.

Some 260,600 tourists visited New Zealand in January for a short-term stay.

Total spend by international arrivals fell 6% to $5.42 billion in the 2012 calendar year, coming down from a spike in 2011 from the Rugby World Cup.

Today's figures showed a seasonally adjusted net gain of 350 long-term and permanent migrants in January, and breaking even on an annual basis.

Statistics NZ said Auckland and Christchurch were the only regions to gain migrants.

Australia continued to attract New Zealanders across the ditch, with a seasonally adjusted net outflow of 2600 in January, the smallest loss since February 2011.

Some 37,900 more people moved to Australia in the year ended January 31.

In the January 2013 year, New Zealand residents departed on 2.161 million overseas trips, up 3% from the previous year.

The biggest increases were in trips to the United States (up 16,300) and Australia (up 10,300).

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