New air capacity salvages NZ tourism numbers

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Increased air capacity from China, Malaysia and Singapore has prevented New Zealand visitor arrival numbers from taking a bath.
 
Statistics NZ figures released today (Tuesday) show international arrival numbers were 0.4 per cent down last month on May last year. 

NZ’s second and third largest markets – the UK and US – were down 14.6 and 10 per cent, respectively. The drop reflects continued fallout from the global financial crisis. 

Numbers from NZ’s sixth largest market, Japan, were down 54.3 per cent. 

However, May arrivals from NZ’s largest market, Australia, were up 3.8 per cent. 

Arrivals from China, NZ’s fourth largest market, were up 10.6 per cent, Malaysian numbers more than doubled – up 128.1 per cent – and Singapore was 36.2 per cent up. 

Tourism NZ chief executive Kevin Bowler says recent increased air capacity out of China, Malaysia and Singapore contributed to May’s arrival figures. 

“It has been an extraordinary five months for our tourism industry, and comes as no surprise to see arrival figures flat this month, however it is pleasing to note new airline links are contributing to an overall positive pictured of improved visitor arrivals to NZ for the year.” 

Arrival numbers in the 12 months to May increased one per cent to 2,515,859. 

Annual growth from China, India, Malaysia and Singapore, respectively, was 27.5 per cent, 13.3 per cent, 32.7 per cent and 6.0 per cent. 

Bowler expects June figures to remain “very challenging”, given recent events including Christchurch earthquakes and ash from Chile affecting flights, before receiving a boost in the lead-up to Rugby World Cup in September and October.