Visitor arrivals to New Zealand increased in February, despite the earthquake that devastated the South Island city of Christchurch during the month. According to data released yesterday by Statistics New Zealand, total short-term visitor arrivals to the country totalled 268,300 in February 2011, 1% more than the February 2010 total of 267,900.
The rise was attributed to an increase in the ‘visiting friends and relatives’ (VFR) market, with the 22 February quake contributing to this. Between 22 and 28 February 2011, 2,300 more people arrived on VFR visits, compared with the same days in 2010. VFR arrivals were up by 3,000 for the month of February 2011.
The corporate travel and MICE market also saw a boost in February. There were 1,900 business travel arrivals to New Zealand during the month, 1,100 more arrivals for conventions and conferences. Arrivals for leisure holidays however, declined 7,900 compared with February 2010, with decreases both before and after the 22 February earthquake.
Arrivals from Australia increased in February, up 2.5%, as did those from and China (+6%). The increase from China in February 2011 came despite an earlier Chinese New Year holiday period, which had boosted arrivals in January 2011. Combined January and February 2011 figures show that the country received 6,200 more Chinese visitors in 2011, compared with 2010.
February growth was also seen in visitation from Japan (+4.5%) and Korea (+3.8%), while arrivals from the Philippines surged 63%. Fewer visitors however, arrived from Thailand (-12%) and Taiwan (-42%).
New Zealand saw 4.5% fewer visitors from Europe in February, with UK arrivals dropping 10%. Arrivals from the Americas increase 1.6%, with those from the US increaing by just under 1%.