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Provisional international travel statistics

Temporary release of regular border-crossing flow data in response to COVID-19

Stats NZ is releasing early and provisional international travel data here to facilitate analysis of the COVID-19 international pandemic and impact on New Zealand’s inbound and outbound tourism sectors.

Four different data series are presented with different reference dates:

  1. Weekly travel data for short-term overseas visitor and New Zealand resident arrivals. Weekly and four-weekly data in the downloadable files include the 10 main source and 10 main destination countries, as well as world regions and totals. The CSV files include additional source and main destination countries.
  2. Daily arrivals and departures data based solely on border-crossings into and out of New Zealand. These data do not incorporate arrival card information so no breakdown of traveller type (eg overseas visitor, New Zealand resident) is available.
  3. Arrivals into New Zealand by territorial authority. These extra data are based solely on information collected on the arrival cards. The data include a breakdown of arrivals by territorial authority and local boards (TALB) by passenger type, age, sex, and citizenship (NZ, non-NZ).
  4. Stock estimates of visitors in New Zealand, and New Zealand residents travelling overseas, based on arrivals and departures.

All of these data series are provisional and subject to revision during the full process of producing international travel statistics. Final statistics are published in our monthly International travel releases and Infoshare series (Subject category: Tourism, Group: International Travel and Migration).

All data series are updated on a weekly basis; however, we will regularly review the release frequency. For feedback on the statistics presented here, or to subscribe to notifications when updates are released, please contact demography@stats.govt.nz

Delays in processed travel data

Arrival cards are usually delivered directly to Stats NZ to enable full processing of international travel data. This processing includes the classification of arrivals as overseas visitors or New Zealand resident travellers. However, these cards are currently being rerouted to the Ministry of Health to assist with COVID-19 management and mitigation. This will cause some delay to the availability of weekly travel data. The latest data available is up to 30 August 2020 and was released on 23 September 2020.

Weekly travel data

Weekly and four-weekly data is provided for short-term overseas visitor and New Zealand resident arrivals. Data in the downloadable files (under ‘Available files’) include the 10 main source and 10 main destination countries, as well as world regions and totals.

Two CSV files are available, as an alternative way of accessing provisional international travel data. The CSV files provide additional variables for overseas visitor and NZ resident arrivals including: two extra main source countries; one extra main destination country; length of stay or absence; main travel purpose; and selected New Zealand ports.

Length of stay or absence
Before November 2018, visitors’ length of stay in New Zealand was captured from their intentions on the arrival card. Visitors who departed before processing of their month of arrival was completed, had their length of stay recalculated based on their actual stay (day of arrival to day of departure). From November 2018, all visitors have their length of stay calculated based on their actual stay.

Before November 2018, residents’ length of absence away from New Zealand was captured from their intentions on the departure card. Residents who arrived before processing of their month of departure was completed, had their length of absence calculated based on their actual absence (day of departure to day of arrival). From November 2018, all residents have their length of absence calculated on their actual absence.

These changes were introduced in the provisional international travel statistics for the week ended 16 December 2018.

Rounding
All passenger counts are rounded to the nearest 10. Totals may differ due to rounding and individual figures may not sum to totals. The rounding was implemented to allow the extra detail in the new CSV files.

Sampling
Before November 2018, total of all countries is based on sample counts in the CSV files. This differs from the Excel files where total of all countries is based on actual counts.

Daily arrivals and departures data

Information on travellers entering and exiting New Zealand based solely on border-crossings into and out of New Zealand. These data do not incorporate arrival card information so no breakdown of traveller type (eg overseas visitor, New Zealand resident) is available.

The data does include a breakdown by age-sex, citizenship (NZ, non-NZ), overseas port and NZ port. A summarised daily update is also published on Stats NZ’s COVID-19 data portal.  

The data was first released on 25 March 2020, including border-crossings up to 22 March 2020. Data released on 23 September 2020 includes border crossings up to 22 September 2020. See the downloadable file (under ‘Available files’) 'Daily movements across New Zealand border'.

The file includes a graph comparing daily arrivals and departures in 2020 compared with 2019.

Arrivals into New Zealand by Territorial Authority

Data on arrivals into New Zealand by territorial authority is based solely on information captured from the New Zealand passenger arrivals cards. Arrivals without arrivals cards are excluded from the total number of arrivals.

The data comprise local boards for Auckland and territorial authorities for the rest of New Zealand.

The data was first released on 16 September 2020, including information collected from arrivals during April to July 2020. See the downloadable file (under 'Available files') - Arrivals into New Zealand by Territorial Authority, April to July 2020.'

Stock estimates of travellers

Early estimates as at 18 September 2020:

  • 40,000-50,000 New Zealand residents travelling overseas – includes New Zealand and non-New Zealand citizens who have been living in New Zealand. See also New Zealand residents travelling overseas (published 19 March 2020).
  • 85,000–115,000 visitors from overseas in New Zealand – includes Australian and New Zealand citizens visiting New Zealand, as well as visitors on work, student, visitor and other visa types. See also Visitors from overseas in New Zealand (published 25 March 2020).
  • Of those visitors from overseas, an estimated regional breakdown is based on cellphone-tower location data for international devices in New Zealand (Source: Data Ventures). These regional estimates allow for uncertainty in the location data and the national estimate of visitors from overseas:  
    • Northland 1,800–3,000 
    • Auckland 37,300–61,600
    • Waikato 6,600–10,900
    • Bay of Plenty 4,400–7,300
    • Gisborne 400–700
    • Hawke's Bay 2,600–4,300
    • Taranaki 900–1,400
    • Manawatū-Whanganui 2,100–3,400
    • Wellington 6,000–9,800
    • Tasman 600–1,000
    • Nelson 700–1,200
    • Marlborough 1,000–1,700
    • West Coast 100–200
    • Canterbury 8,000–13,300
    • Otago 3,300–5,400
    • Southland 800–1,300.

Page updated 23 September 2020

 

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