China fuels rise in New Zealand visitors

Photo:   Jaafar Alnasser Photgraphy

Official data released by Statistics New Zealand shows that visitor arrivals increased 8 per cent in November 2014 compared to the same month in 2013. The rise was fuelled by a surge in Chinese tourists, the number of which climbed almost 50 per cent year-on-year.

“China is the second-biggest source country for visitors to New Zealand,”  population statistics manager Vina Cullum said. “In November 2014 there were 8,800 more visitor arrivals from China than in November 2013, and most were holidaymakers.”

China’s relationship with New Zealand is only just beginning according to some property professionals. Indeed, China’s investment in overseas property has significantly increased in recent years, totalling $52 billion in 2014 – up from $10 billion in 2012.

New Zealand is one of the countries on their shopping list, according to , where it is ranked seventh most popular out of international destinations. The portal’s CEO Simon Henry says that property sales to Chinese buyers will grow 15 to 20 per cent in 2015/2016.

Henry adds that China currently makes up around a quarter of property sales to foreigners.

They are not the only ones with eyes on the home of The Lord of the Rings, though, as the country continues to welcome a growing number of holidaymakers: total visitor arrivals numbered 2.84 million in November 2014, up 5 per cent year-on-year, with other big increases coming from Australia and the USA.

The hotel sector is enjoying strong growth too, with national guest nights for November 2014 5.9 percent higher than in November 2013, the eighth consecutive month of rises.

“Otago and Auckland were the main regional contributors to the national increase in November,” acting business indicators manager Tehseen Islam said. “Otago guest nights were boosted by the inaugural Queenstown International Marathon.”