The number of holidaymakers flocking to Auckland has surpassed one million for the first time, and China is now the leading source of visiting tourists.
Holiday visitors to Auckland totaled 1.05 million in 2015, according to data from Statistics New Zealand.

While Australia remains the main source of overall visitors to the city, China has for the first time topped the table for those visiting for a holiday.
The figure is 15 per cent up on the 912,000 holidaymakers who arrived in 2014.

Last year, just over 241,000 Chinese holidaymakers visited, up 37 per cent on 2014, and 237,660 Australians crossed the ditch.

Auckland also had a record 2,217,000 international visitors in 2015, up 9 per cent from the year before.

This includes business visits, which rose 4 per cent to 208,300.

There were also big increases in the number of visitors from Korea up 20 per cent to 31,300, Japan up 19 per cent to 49,200, the United States up 14 per cent to 109,790 and Britain up 12 per cent to 60,200.

Brett O’Riley, chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, said 2015 was the largest tourism year in the city’s history, and the 15 per cent growth in holiday visitors was an impressive jump.

“The increase has been led by China and Australia, but it’s great to see the return of the traditional high-yielding markets of Japan and United States.”

O’Riley said new direct Auckland flights to Houston, Argentina and Dubai would attract further growth in visitors from the United States, South America and United Arab Emirates.

Additional flights available to Auckland from Malaysia and China by AirAsia X, Air China and China Eastern Airlines would also make a difference, he said.

The chairman of the Auckland hotels section of the Tourism Industry Association, Paul Columbus, said the figures were not surprising given that hotels in Auckland had more than 90 per cent occupancy rates in the peak season.

He said there was demand for more accommodation in the city, and new hotel developments planned for the next three to five years would help with that.
These include the Sofitel So, Ritz-Carlton, Park Hyatt and SkyCity.

These hotel developments would add up to 2000 rooms to the downtown accommodation scene.

The Statistics New Zealand figures are based on visitors who said the reason for their trip is a holiday.