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Stats NZ: More than 200k foreign visitors still in NZ

26 Mar 2020  By Staff Reporter | news@tourismticker.com | @tourismticker

There are around 208,000 foreign visitors still in New Zealand as the country enters a four-week lockdown, according to StatsNZ.

In total, there were about a quarter-of-a-million visitors from overseas in the country as of late March with around 42,000 New Zealand citizens.

The data comes as the Government declared a State of National Emergency yesterday before moving to Covid-19 alert level 4 at one minute to midnight last night preventing all but essential travel.

The tourism industry had been trying to help visitors still in the country to move into appropriate accommodation as the country entered lockdown.

The new data from Stats NZ showed the sheer scale of the task, although many visitors were in the country for longer-term work or study and presumably had their accommodation arranged.

“We’ve derived this provisional estimate to assist with Covid-19 analysis and decision-making,” said Stats NZ’s population insights senior manager, Brooke Theyers.

“The estimate, using international travel data, is an indication of how many overseas visitors may depart in the coming weeks.”

The estimate was based on arrivals of overseas visitors in the past 12 months, who have not yet departed New Zealand.

Stats NZ considered that overseas visitors were all people who had been living overseas for at least the 12 months before they arrived in New Zealand, irrespective of the nationality of their passport, and planned to stay for less than one year.

“This is an estimate of the size of the pool of overseas visitors in New Zealand at a point in time, not the flow of people coming into or leaving the country each week or month. We know the flows in and out of New Zealand have slowed significantly in recent weeks,” said Theyers.

“While most visitors to New Zealand are tourists here for a short time, large numbers are also here for work and study over many weeks or months.”

In 2019, of the 3.9 million visitor arrivals to New Zealand, around 488,000, or 12.5%, stayed for longer than a month.

In March 2019 there was an average of 242,000 visitors in the country each day. In March 2018 the average was 247,000.

“If and when visitors in New Zealand will return overseas will depend on the availability of flights and their purpose of travel to New Zealand,” said Theyers.

“While most visitors to New Zealand are tourists here for a short time, large numbers are also here for work and study over many weeks or months.”

Around 100,000–110,000 New Zealand residents were travelling overseas as of mid-March 2020, said Stats NZ. About two-thirds were New Zealand citizens and one-third were foreign nationals.

 


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