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Cricket and holiday periods boost visitor arrivals
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  23 April 2015

International Travel and Migration: March 2015  –  Media Release

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand numbered 291,800 in March 2015, a record high for a March month, Statistics New Zealand said today. The latest figure was 15 percent higher than in March 2014, and 8 percent higher than in March 2013.

"Visitor numbers in March 2015 were boosted by the Cricket World Cup, and the earlier timing of Easter and overseas school holidays compared with 2014," population statistics manager Vina Cullum said. "Although Good Friday fell on 3 April this year, travel generally increases several days before the start of holiday periods."

The earlier holidays saw more arrivals from Australia (up 13,900) and the United Kingdom (up 3,800) compared with March 2014. The recent large monthly increases continued from China (up 7,700), while the Cricket World Cup contributed to more visitors from India (up 1,700).

New Zealand-resident travellers departed on 168,200 overseas trips in March 2015, up 14 percent from March 2014. This was also influenced by the earlier timing of Easter and school holidays, and trips to watch New Zealand play in the Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne. The biggest increases were to Australia (up 6,600), the United States (up 3,100), China (up 2,200), and India (up 1,400). Almost half of the New Zealand residents travelling to China and India were citizens of those countries.

Net inflow of 5,000 migrants in March

New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 5,000 migrants in March 2015, consistent with the average monthly net gain of 4,900 since August 2014. The apparent levelling of net migration since August comes after two years of increasing net gains, following net losses averaging 300 per month between March 2011 and August 2012.

The annual net gain of migrants was a record-high 56,300 in the March 2015 year, well up from 31,900 in the March 2014 year, and 2,500 in the March 2013 year. Migrant arrivals were up 16 percent from the March 2014 year, while departures were down 13 percent.

The net loss of 2,300 people to Australia in the March 2015 year was the smallest since the March 1992 year (also 2,300). The biggest net gains of migrants in the March 2015 year were from India (12,100), China (7,700), the United Kingdom (4,900), and the Philippines (4,000). About three-quarters of migrants from India, and half of migrants from China, arrived on student visas.

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Nicholas Thomson, Christchurch 03 964 8700, info@stats.govt.nz

Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 23 April 2015

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