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Visitor, immigrant numbers at record high

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/05/2017

The number of visitors to the country hit a record high in the year to April, while migrant arrivals showed no sign of slowing, Statistics NZ says. © Phil Walter/Getty Images The number of visitors to the country hit a record high in the year to April, while migrant arrivals showed no sign of slowing, Statistics NZ says. The number of visitors to the country hit a record high in the year to April, while migrant arrivals showed no sign of slowing, Statistics NZ says.

The government stats agency says in the 12 months to April 3.6 million visitors arrived in New Zealand, up 10 per cent from last year.

The record figure was largely pushed up by 35,000 more holiday-makers arriving in April this year compared to April 2016, population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan says.

Visitors also pumped $10 billion into the New Zealand economy in the year to March, according to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures also release on Thursday.

That figure was down 2 per cent for the year, but came after a period of "very strong growth" and had also taken a hit due to a strong Kiwi dollar, MBIE said.

"Over the last three years, international visitor spending has grown, with the total spend up 49 per cent over the period.

"Spending growth was strongest in China with growth of 88 per cent over the three years, while the USA and Korea grew at 61 per cent and 60 per cent respectively."

Growing pressure on infrastructure from booming tourist numbers prompted the government this month to launch a $100-million fund to help struggling local councils build new car parks, toilets and freedom camping facilities.

But it hasn't all been one-way traffic though, with Kiwis taking a record 2.7 million trips overseas in the year to April, up 11 per cent on last year, according to Stats NZ.

Meanwhile, net migration figures for the year to April remained at March's record 71,900 - with 129,800 arrivals and 57,900 departures.

That figures was heavily contributed to by student visas, Mr Dolan said.

"Almost one in five migrant arrivals for the last 12 months were people coming to New Zealand to study," he said.

"Student arrivals from Asia dominated the overall student migrant arrivals, contributing almost three-quarters of the total."

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