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International Travel and Migration: July 2008
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  21 August 2008
Commentary

Name change

Statistics New Zealand changed the name of this release from 'External Migration' to 'International Travel and Migration' in the June month release. This is to better reflect that the release contains statistics on short-term travellers as well as permanent and long-term migrants.

Visitor arrivals

Monthly visitor arrivals

Short-term overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand numbered 175,700 in July 2008, an increase of 2,700 (2 percent) from July 2007 (173,000). This is the highest number of visitor arrivals recorded for a July month, surpassing the previous high of 173,300 in July 2004.

The estimated average number of visitors in New Zealand per day in July 2008 was 112,400, up 4 percent from the average of 107,500 in July 2007. Estimated numbers of visitors in the country are calculated from the date of arrival and intended length of stay of sampled visitor arrivals. The average intended stay of visitors who arrived in July 2008 was 20 days, unchanged from July 2007, and the median (half stay shorter, and half stay longer, than this duration) was 8 days.

Annual visitor arrivals

During the July 2008 year, there were 2.482 million visitor arrivals, up 18,600 (1 percent) from the July 2007 year. A holiday was the main travel reason for 1.207 million visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the July 2008 year, down 10,100 (1 percent) from the previous year. Another 733,500 arrived to visit friends and relatives (up 30,800 or 4 percent), and 265,500 arrived for business (down 7,600 or 3 percent).

Graph, Annual Visitor Arrivals Graph, Resident Arrivals by Reason

Note: Provisional international travel statistics, including weekly and four-weekly visitor arrival data, are available on the Statistics NZ website. This data is updated each week with the most recently available information on visitor arrivals from 10 major source countries.

Visitors by source country

In July 2008, there were more visitor arrivals from Australia (up 1,200 or 2 percent) and France (up 700 or 55 percent). Fewer visitors arrived from China (down 900 or 12 percent), Korea (down 700 or 8 percent) and Taiwan (down 700 or 25 percent).

Graph, Visitors from Australia Graph, Visitors from China

In the year ended July 2008, there were more visitors from Oceania (up 45,200 or 4 percent) and the Americas (up 8,100 or 3 percent) compared with the July 2007 year. Fewer visitors arrived from Asia (down 33,500 or 6 percent) and Europe (down 6,100 or 1 percent).

Australia (up 39,300 or 4 percent) provided the largest increase in visitor arrivals in the July 2008 year. There were also increases in visitor arrivals from China (up 6,000 or 5 percent), Canada (up 5,600 or 12 percent), South Africa (up 3,900 or 19 percent) and India (up 2,600 or 13 percent).

Decreases in visitor arrivals were recorded for Korea (down 22,700 or 20 percent), Japan (down 11,600 or 9 percent), the United Kingdom (down 10,800 or 4 percent) and Taiwan (down 6,000 or 22 percent) in the July 2008 year.

Visitor arrivals from Korea, Japan and Taiwan in the July 2008 year were well below previous annual highs. The 88,200 visitor arrivals from Korea were down from the peaks of 130,700 in the April 1997 year (before the Asian financial crisis), and 118,400 in the May 2004 year. Similarly, the 114,800 visitor arrivals from Japan were down from the peak of 174,800 in the January 2003 year. The 21,400 visitor arrivals from Taiwan were only one-third of the 66,000 visitor arrivals from that country in the October 1995 year.

Note: Detailed visitor data will be available in the July 2008 edition of International Visitor Arrivals to New Zealand, which can be ordered on the International visitor arrivals subscription page on the Statistics NZ website.

New Zealand-resident departures

Monthly resident departures

New Zealand residents departed on 202,200 short-term overseas trips in July 2008, up 16,700 (9 percent) from the 185,500 departures in July 2007. The increase was largely due to the school holidays beginning in July in 2008, compared with June in 2007. The highest number of short-term departures by New Zealand residents in a July month was 205,200 in 2005, when the school holidays also started in July.

Combining the months of June and July, New Zealand residents departed on 1 percent fewer trips in 2008 compared with the same period in 2007.

In July 2008, there were more trips to Australia (up 3,700 or 4 percent), Fiji (up 1,800 or 15 percent), the United States (up 1,700 or 19 percent), China (up 900 or 28 percent) and the United Kingdom (up 900 or 8 percent).

The estimated average number of New Zealand residents who were temporarily overseas during July 2008 was 139,500 per day, up 1 percent from the average of 138,100 in July 2007. Estimates of the number of residents overseas are calculated from the date of departure and intended length of absence of sampled resident departures. The average intended absence of residents who departed in July 2008 was 19 days, and the median was 10 days.

 Graph, Monthly New Zealand Resident Short-term Departures

Annual resident departures

There were 1.994 million resident departures in the July 2008 year, up 71,200 (4 percent) from the July 2007 year. There were more resident departures to Oceania (up 24,900 or 2 percent), Asia (up 16,400 or 7 percent), Europe (up 9,700 or 6 percent) and the Americas (up 9,000 or 8 percent).

By country, there were more trips to Australia (up 10,400 or 1 percent), France (up 7,700 or 63 percent), China (up 6,100 or 11 percent), the United States (up 5,400 or 6 percent), New Caledonia (up 4,600 or 63 percent) and the Cook Islands (up 4,500 or 9 percent) in the July 2008 year. Australia remains the main destination for short-term overseas trips, accounting for half of New Zealand resident departures in the year ended July 2008.

A holiday was the main travel reason for 839,900 New Zealand residents who departed in the July 2008 year, up 32,600 (4 percent) from the previous year. Another 628,400 were departing to visit friends and relatives (up 28,800 or 5 percent). Departures for business purposes (287,800) were down 1,400 (less than 1 percent) from the year ended July 2007.

Graph, Annual Resident Departures Graph, Resident Departures by Reason

Note: Provisional international travel statistics, including weekly and four-weekly resident departure data, are available on the Statistics NZ website. This data is updated each week with the most recently available information on resident departures to 10 major destination countries.

Permanent and long-term migration

Definition

Permanent and long-term (PLT) arrivals include people who arrive in New Zealand intending to stay for a period of 12 months or more (or permanently), plus New Zealand residents returning after an absence of 12 months or more. Included in the former group are people with New Zealand residency, as well as students and holders of work permits. PLT departures include New Zealand residents departing for an intended period of 12 months or more (or permanently), plus overseas visitors departing New Zealand after a stay of 12 months or more.

Monthly PLT migration

PLT arrivals exceeded departures by 700 in July 2008, compared with a net PLT inflow of 200 in July 2007. PLT arrivals were up by over 800, partly offset by almost 400 more PLT departures. Net PLT migration has now increased in three of the last five months compared with the same months in 2007.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, there was a net PLT inflow of 800 in July 2008. The net PLT series averaged 500 between January 2007 and June 2008.

In July 2008, there were net inflows of migrants from India (900), China and the Philippines (both 400), Germany and Fiji (both 300), and South Africa and the United Kingdom (both 200). Compared with July 2007, net PLT migration increased from all of these countries, led by increases of 300 from each of India, China and the United Kingdom. There was a net outflow of 2,700 PLT migrants to Australia in July 2008, up from the outflow of 2,200 in July 2007.

Annual PLT migration

In the year ended July 2008, there were 86,100 PLT arrivals, up 3,600 (4 percent) from the July 2007 year. Over the same period, there were 80,900 PLT departures, up 7,400 (10 percent). As a result, net PLT migration was 5,200 in the July 2008 year, down from 9,000 in the July 2007 year. However, the latest figure is above the recent low of 4,600 in the February 2008 year.

Graph, Annual PLT Migration  Graph, Annual Net PLT Migration

The net PLT migration gain of 5,200 in the year ended July 2008 is below the annual average of 11,800 recorded for the December years from 1990–2007. Net PLT migration varied substantially within this 18-year period. The net gain peaked at 30,200 in the April 1996 year and again at 42,500 in the May 2003 year. Net outflows were generally experienced during 1998–2001, with the highest being a net loss of 13,200 people in the February 2001 year.

Annual PLT migration by citizenship

A net inflow of 40,500 non-New Zealand citizens and a net outflow of 35,300 New Zealand citizens were recorded in the year ended July 2008. The majority of the net outflow of New Zealand citizens was to Australia (32,600), followed by the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates (both 500), and Canada (400).

Compared with the July 2007 year, PLT arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens were up 3,700 and PLT arrivals of New Zealand citizens were down 100. There were 5,800 more PLT departures of New Zealand citizens and 1,600 more PLT departures of non-New Zealand citizens. Changes in non-New Zealand citizen departures are often related to changes in non-New Zealand citizen arrivals a few years earlier. Similarly, changes in New Zealand citizen arrivals are often related to changes in New Zealand citizen departures a few years earlier.

 Graph, Annual PLT Migration by Citizenship Graph, Annual Net PLT Migration by Citizenship

Annual PLT migration by country

In the year ended July 2008, there was a net inflow of 7,600 migrants from the United Kingdom, down from 9,000 in the July 2007 year and 10,600 in the July 2006 year. In contrast, the net inflow of 4,700 from India was up from 3,000 in the July 2007 year and 2,100 in the July 2006 year. There were also net PLT inflows from the Philippines (3,600), Fiji (2,700), South Africa (2,500) and China (2,400) in the July 2008 year.

The net PLT outflow to Australia was 32,300 in the July 2008 year, compared with 25,500 in the July 2007 year. This is the highest annual net outflow to Australia since the April 1989 year (32,600). There were earlier peaks in the January 1989 year (33,700) and the December 1979 year (33,400).

The net outflow to Australia was spread across both age and occupation groups. Migrants aged 15–29 years accounted for 40 percent (12,900) of the net outflow to Australia in the July 2008 year, while the 0–14-year age group (7,400) and 30–44-year age group (7,500) both contributed 23 percent of the outflow. A further 13 percent (4,100) were aged 45–59 years, and the remaining 1 percent (400) were aged 60 years and over.

Net outflows to Australia were recorded in each broad occupation group, led by service and sales workers, professionals, and trades workers (each 2,100). There was also a net outflow to Australia of 13,200 people without an occupation, of which most were children or students.

Split PLT data

Statistics NZ began separately identifying permanent arrivals from long-term arrivals in July 2003 (departing migrants are also separately identified). Within the long-term group, a further distinction is made between overseas visitors coming to stay in New Zealand for 12 months or more (long-term overseas visitors), and New Zealand residents returning after an overseas stay of 12 months or more (long-term New Zealand residents).

The classification of a person as a permanent or long-term migrant depends on that person's responses to the questions on the arrival and departure cards. Both cards require completion of one of two sections, depending on whether or not the person feels that they live or have lived in New Zealand. The choice of which section to complete is up to the individual, and the answer may result in a person being misclassified – usually as a permanent migrant instead of a long-term migrant.

Of the 8,000 PLT arrivals in July 2008, there were 2,100 permanent migrants and 4,800 long-term visitors. A further 1,100 arrivals were returning long-term New Zealand residents.

INFOS EMI series redevelopment

Statistics NZ has recently made changes to the INFOS External Migration (EMI) group. Some discontinued and duplicated families are no longer published, the titles of all families have been modified, and footnotes have been added. Series identifiers have not changed. More details are available on the INFOS – database changes webpage.

A project is also underway to replace the EMI group with a new group called International Travel and Migration (ITM). The first ITM families are now available, containing data by passenger type, by country and travel purpose, and by country and citizenship. More detailed series will be added progressively. Further information about the redevelopment can be obtained from the contacts below.

For technical information contact:
Nick Thomson or Ian Richards
Christchurch 03 964 8700
Email: demography@stats.govt.nz

Next release ...

International Travel and Migration: August 2008 will be released on 19 September 2008.

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