Visitor growth is slowing

Visitors explore Queenstown NZ in a gondola.

In the year ended December 2018, there were 3.86 million visitor arrivals, a 129,500 increase from 2017.

While visitors are still coming in larger numbers every year, the growth is slowing, according to Stats NZ.

“Visitor numbers increased 3.5 percent in the year ended December 2018,” said Brooke Theyers, population insights senior manager, Stats NZ.

Notably, New Zealand also had 529,300 visitor arrivals in December 2018, the highest for any month on record.

December 2017 was the previous record holder, but 2018 toppled it by 15,900.

The increase in visitor arrivals was driven largely by the United States, with 4,900 more arrivals than the year prior. Australia also increased by 2,300, the United Kingdom was up 2,100, and India decreased by 1,500.

“Visitors tend to stay longer than usual in December months,” said Theyers.

“This is because more visitors visit family and friends, and fewer visitors arrive for business and conferences.”