New Zealand

Visitor arrivals highest since pandemic began

Overseas arrivals exceed 100,000 in July for the first time since March 2020

A strong ski season and Australia holiday traffic has set New Zealand’s tourism well on the road to recovery with international visitor arrivals reaching the highest level since the borders were closed in March 2020.

Announcing the news, Tourism Minister, Stuart Nash said  the number of overseas visitor arrivals exceeded 100,000, with 134,200 visitors in July,  a strong sign he said that the tourism sector is bouncing back.

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Quoting newly-released Stats NZ figures, Minister Nash said it was fantastic to have roared past the 100,000 mark for arrivals in July, the first time this has happened since COVID closed New Zealand’s borders in March 2020.

“This data shows that the tourism recovery is well underway,” he said.

“We know tourism operators have had it tough, but these figures present a light at the end of a long tunnel.

The 134,200 overseas visitors in July 2022 was nearly double the international arrivals from the month prior.

Queenstown, Minister Nash said, continues to lead the tourism recovery, buoyed by a strong ski season, with winter arrivals this year reaching at least 90 percent of the same period in 2019.

“This is a fantastic result, and I’m pleased that the Government has been able to provide $63.3 million, on top of the Wage Subsidy and Resurgence support payment, to support tourism in the Queenstown region,” he said.

“Our Government has supported the tourism sector throughout the pandemic, working with the industry to respond to the challenges of the past two years.

“This includes the $400m Tourism Recovery Package, the $200m Tourism Communities Plan, and the $54m Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery.

“This support went to tourism operators most affected by the border closure, and has helped them to gear up for the return of international visitors.”

The Minister also pointed to the growth in total airline capacity which is estimated to reach nearly three quarters of 2019 levels by the end of the year.

“North American airline capacity is forecasted to return closest to 2019 levels by November, boosted by increased frequency of flights, the return of flight paths, and the opening of new routes, such as Air New Zealand’s Auckland-New York flight.

“The USA represents our third largest tourism market, so increased flight capacity will have a huge impact on our tourism recovery going forward.”

Commenting on the figures, Hospitality NZ (HNZ) Chief Executive, Julie White said it was great to see demand coming back after so long with our international borders closed.

“For some hospitality businesses it has seemed like forever,” she said.

“Feedback we’re getting from our members is forward bookings through to next year are also picking up slightly and trickling through.

“But the labour shortfall continues to present a big problem throughout New Zealand and especially in high-demand areas such as Queenstown, Wanaka and Rotorua, and this is being exacerbated as demand increases – putting even further pressure on the existing workforce.”



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