Visitor arrivals from China down in 2019

Visitor arrivals from China fell 9 percent to 407,100 in the December 2019 year compared with the December 2018 year, Stats NZ said today.

The annual number of visitor arrivals from China has been falling since early 2019.

“Recent travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus are expected to further affect the number of visitor arrivals from China, at least in the short term”, population indicators manager, Tehseen Islam said.

On 2 February 2020, the New Zealand Government placed temporary restrictions on entry into New Zealand for all foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through mainland China. The restrictions coincided with the usual peak travel period of Chinese New Year.

“Monthly arrivals from China typically peak in January or February, depending on the timing of the Chinese New Year holiday period,” Mr Islam said. “In February 2019, about 50,000 visitors arrived from China and, in February 2018, the figure was about 70,000.”

While 407,100 visitors arrived from China in 2019, New Zealand residents also took 141,600 trips to China in the year ended December 2019.

Year ended 2017 2018 2019
Jan 54096 37280 43858
Feb 33728 68928 50861
Mar 42000 43440 41063
Apr 39296 46464 36610
May 27568 30544 27782
Jun 17744 18928 18334
Jul 29360 29264 28290
Aug 29232 31536 29327
Sep 30704 32416 27523
Oct 33040 31440 27831
Nov 41808 39948 38820
Dec 39296 38001 36842
Region 2019 2018 2017
Africa and Middle East 50794 46657 41422
Americas 272397 278467 260230
Asia 628536 574825 504863
Europe 279293 263278 242043
Oceania 452592 458090 419311
Australia 1277489 1231747 1212261

Australia was the most visited country, with two in every five New Zealand-resident travellers arriving back from there.

“In 2019, we made 63 overseas trips for every 100 New Zealand residents,” Mr Islam said.

In the December 2019 month, the number of people returning from short-term trips was 194,500, up 20,200 from December 2018. Just over half of the returning New Zealand-resident travellers were coming from Australia.

Boxing Day cricket test a boost for Melbourne

New Zealand-resident travellers returning through Melbourne airport increased 10,600 to 38,400 in the December month 2019 compared with December 2018. The Boxing Day cricket test between New Zealand and Australia, held in Melbourne, contributed to the increase in the number of New Zealand-resident travellers flying back from that city.

“Sydney airport is usually the most common overseas airport for returning New Zealand-resident travellers,” Mr Islam said. “The number of short-term travellers returning through Melbourne airport in December 2019 topped Sydney airport for the first time, most likely because of the Boxing Day cricket test.”

 Dec-17 Dec-18 Dec-19
Melbourne 25440 27849 38412
Sydney 33153 35818 37589
Brisbane 20955 20015 21939
Nadi 9809 9908 11102
Singapore 5613 5879 6475

The overseas airport of a passenger’s flight is the last airport where they boarded an aircraft before arriving in New Zealand, although they may have started their return trip from another airport.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.