New Zealand

Lockdown continues to bite NZ border crossings

NZ experiences lowest departures for 60 years

Figures released by Stats NZ for September 2021 show just 7,900 people departed the country while arrivals reached just 8,200, the lowest figure since 1961.

Indicative of the current lockdown’s bite, the combined 16,100 arrival/departure figure represents a 41,300 drop on the month before when the Australia-New Zealand short-lived bubble was in existence.

NZS population indicators manager, Tehseen Islam said pauses to quarantine-free travel with Australia and the Cook Islands have seen total border crossings fall to levels last seen in May 2020, early in the pandemic.

Provisional data for October 2021 shows a small increase in both arrivals and departures. This coincides with the opening of one-way, quarantine-free travel for workers from Vanuatu, Samoa, and Tonga, as part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

The September 2021 figures included 2,300 overseas visitor arrivals, the lowest number since May 2020 with visitors coming from the United States, Great Britain, India, and Russia.

There were 3,200 New Zealand residents returning from trips overseas in September 2021. The main countries people returned from were the United Kingdom, United States, Cook Islands, and India. Over half indicated their trip overseas was to visit friends or relatives.

“COVID-19 travel and border restrictions have changed short-term travel patterns. For example, September 2021 was the first month the USA has led visitor arrivals since October 1988, and the first month that the United Kingdom has led New Zealand resident arrivals”, Mr Islam said.

Mike Parker-Brown

Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience. Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.

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