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International visitor arrivals were maintained during August - with total arrivals up 1.4 per cent for the month and an overall increase of 5.3 per cent for the year ending August 2012. These arrivals generated 50.5 million stay days, a 0.7% increase on last year.
The figures released by Statistics New Zealand today showed continued growth in the key tourism markets of Australia, up 3.0 percent for the month, and China, up 24.9 per cent for the month.
"It is positive to see international arrivals continue to grow from two of our biggest markets - and even more positive that arrivals during August 2012 were ahead of August 2011 which were boosted by the start of arrivals for the Rugby World Cup," says Kevin Bowler, Chief Executive Tourism New Zealand.
"The potential from Asia is clear - with most markets showing growth including Hong Kong, up 12.6 per cent, Indonesia, up 50.0 per cent and India up 13.0 per cent.
"It is heartening to see the continued recovery of Japan, up 20.0 per cent for the month with 7,856 total arrivals equaling the number of arrivals in August 2010.
Arrivals from the long-haul markets of the US and UK continued to be a challenge, with the US down 5.4 per cent and the UK down 26.4 per cent for the month. The decrease from the UK could also be attributed to the London Olympics in July and August which affected the level of outbound travel from this market.
"It is important to note that this is the last month where arrivals will include the total Rugby World Cup (RWC) as a net gain and next month we will start comparing arrivals against the 2011 RWC year.
"While we expect the growth from Asia to offset the impact in total arrivals somewhat, this will have a major impact on some markets. In particular the traditional long staying Western Markets - notably the UK and France."