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Tourists stay away after mosque attacks in Christchurch

Tourists stay away after mosque attacks in Christchurch

The March mosque attacks in Christchurch and timing of Easter holidays affected the number of visitors coming to New Zealand in March.

Tourism numbers appear to have peaked with 10,000 fewer visitors coming into New Zealand in March 2019 compared with the same month a year ago.

ASB economists say tourism numbers are declining from Europe, and growth is rapidly slowing in the key Asian and Australian markets. 

More tourism infrastructure and providing good value for money from tourisms will be the key extending the tourism boom, ASB said.

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The latest data from Statistics NZ goes against some earlier predictions of rising numbers

The outlook is for further weakening of visitor numbers coming to New Zealand.

The total number of visitor arrivals was 378,300 in March.

The largest falls were in arrivals from Australia (down 12,600), United Kingdom (down 4400), Hong Kong (down 2800), and China (down 2400).

There was a surge in arrivals in early March but numbers were lower overall, Stats NZ population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said.

Total visitor arrivals for the year ended March 2019 were 3.87 million, up 47,900 (1.3 per cent) from the year ended March 2018.

An exception to the general decrease in visitor numbers in March were visitors from the United States.

They were up 7700 (19 per cent) compared with the same month last year.

Most visitors from the US flew in through Auckland airport, with 39,100 of them in March.

Christchurch had 3200 visitor arrivals from the US, Queenstown 2800, Dunedin seaport 1600.

Air New Zealand launced a direct service between Auckland and Chicago in November and has accounted for an additional 6800 visitor arrivals from the US, 1800 of whom arrived in March.

Visitor arrivals from the US were up 22,200 in the year ended March 2019, a total increase of 6.5 per cent compared with the year ended March 2018.

More Kiwis flew back from Australia with 195,000 New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals in March, up 11,800 from the same month last year.

There were also more New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals from India, Indonesia  and Fiji.

The total number of New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals for the year ended March was 3.05 million, up 175,300 from the year ended March 2018.