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International Travel and Migration: July 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  21 August 2014
Commentary

Visitor arrivals set new July record 

Short-term overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand numbered 196,900 in July 2014, up 7 percent from July 2013 (183,700), the previous July month high.  

 Graph, Monthly visitor arrivals, July 2004 to 2014.  

Visitor arrivals by country of residence

The biggest changes in visitors by country of residence between July 2013 and July 2014 were in arrivals from:

  • Australia (up 4,000) 
  • China (up 3,000)
  • Indonesia (up 2,900)
  • Japan (up 1,500).  

Visitor arrivals from China have increased greatly over the last few years – from 8,000 in July 2010 to 18,100 in July 2014.

Visitor arrivals from Indonesia (3,600) were four times higher than last July, boosted by visitors travelling during the Ramadan holiday period. This year Ramadan holidays fell in late July, compared with early August last year.

In the past two decades, visitor arrivals in July from Japan have varied from a high of 14,900 visitors in 1996 to a low of 3,700 in 2009. In July 2014, there were 6,800 visitors from Japan.   

Visitor arrivals by travel purpose

The biggest changes in visitors by travel purpose between July 2013 and July 2014 were in arrivals for:

  • holidays (up 9,300)
  • visiting friends and relatives (up 3,300)
  • education (up 1,900).

More visitors arrived for holidays from Indonesia (up 2,900), Australia (up 2,700), and China (up 1,400). There were also more visitors from Australia visiting friends and relatives (up 1,500).

Short-term visitors intending to study in New Zealand numbered 9,200 in July 2014. They were mainly from China (1,500), the United States (1,200), Japan (900), Australia (700), and Germany (600).

More annual visitors from main source countries 

There were 2.80 million visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the July 2014 year. This was 6 percent higher than in the July 2013 year (2.65 million). 

Compared with the July 2013 year, the biggest annual increases were from the three main source countries: Australia, China, and the United States. Germany and Singapore recorded the next biggest increases.

By travel purpose, the biggest increase in annual visitor arrivals was for holidays (up 102,800) and visiting friends and relatives (up 35,900).

For more detailed data about visitor arrivals, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

New Zealand travellers take fewer trips this July

New Zealand residents departed on 233,100 overseas trips in July 2014, down 2 percent from July 2013 (237,000). 

Graph, Monthly overseas trips by New Zealand residents, July 2004 to 2014.   

Overseas trips by country of main destination

A new departure card was introduced mid-July 2013, which improved the response rate to the 'country of main destination' question. The number of passengers in the 'not stated' category decreased by 12,400 (71 percent) in July 2014, compared with July 2013. The improved response rate contributed much of the change in the figures for individual countries.

Resident departures up 3 percent in July year

Trips by New Zealand residents in the July 2014 year (2.23 million) were up 3 percent from the July 2013 year (2.17 million).

Around half of all trips by New Zealand residents in the July 2014 year were to Australia (1.07 million). The next most-visited destinations were the United States (155,400), Fiji (123,100), the United Kingdom (102,800), the Cook Islands (76,400), and China (75,600). 

For more detailed data on overseas trips by New Zealand residents, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

More arrivals drive net gain of migrants in July

Seasonally adjusted permanent and long-term (PLT) migration figures showed a net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 4,500 migrants in July 2014. This is the highest net gain since the record of 4,700 migrants in February 2003, when a large number of overseas students arrived to study at New Zealand universities.

Net migration has increased in most months over the past year. The difference between the net gains recorded in July 2013 (2,000) and July 2014 was mainly due to:

  • more non-New Zealand citizens arriving (up 1,200)
  • fewer New Zealand citizens leaving for Australia (down 800).

The seasonally adjusted net loss of 100 migrants to Australia in July 2014 was similar to last month's net migration figure. In recent months, migrant arrivals from Australia reached a level that was the highest for the series, which began in 1982. The recent monthly level of migrant departures to Australia was the lowest since 2003.

The highest net loss to Australia was 4,300 in February 2001, just before an immigration policy change that restricted access to welfare benefits for New Zealand citizens arriving after that date.

Graph, Seasonally adjusted monthly permanent and long-term migration, July 2004 to 2014.

Annual net inflow of 41,000 migrants

Unadjusted figures showed 102,400 migrants arrived in the July 2014 year, up 15 percent from the July 2013 year (89,300). Migrant departures numbered 61,400, down 22 percent from the previous year (78,700). This resulted in a net gain of 41,000 migrants in the July 2014 year, compared with a net gain of 10,600 in the July 2013 year, and a net loss of 3,800 in the July 2012 year.

The last time net migration was higher than the latest figure was in the August 2003 year (41,200). New Zealand recorded its highest-ever net gain of 42,500 migrants in the May 2003 year. The highest net outflow was 43,600 in the July 1979 year. Over the last 20 years (December 1994–2013 years), New Zealand's annual net inflow of migrants has averaged 11,700.

PLT migration by country of residence

The net loss of 7,300 people to Australia in the July 2014 year was well down from the loss of 29,200 in the July 2013 year. The latest year's loss resulted from 29,800 departures to Australia (down from 46,300 in the July 2013 year), partly offset by 22,500 arrivals (up from 17,100). In both directions, most migrants were New Zealand citizens.

New Zealand recorded net gains of migrants from most other countries in the July 2014 year, led by:

  • India (7,700)
  • China (6,600)
  • the United Kingdom (5,500)
  • the Philippines (3,100)
  • Germany (2,300)
  • France (1,900).

PLT migrant arrivals by visa type

The biggest changes in migrant arrivals by visa type between the July 2013 and 2014 years were:

  • student visas (up 4,800)
  • New Zealand and Australian citizens (up 4,000)
  • work visas (up 3,100).

Migrants from India and China most often arrived in New Zealand to study. In comparison, there were more migrants arriving to work from the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Germany, and France.

For more detailed data about permanent and long-term migration, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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