New Zealand’s March tourist numbers highest ever recorded

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New Zealand’s tourist numbers are up, thanks in part to an early Easter, the England cricket team’s tour of the country and marketing campaigns centred on the release of The Hobbit.

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New Zealand’s tourist numbers are up, thanks in part to an early Easter, the England cricket team’s tour of the country and marketing campaigns centred on the release of The Hobbit.

The latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show that international visitor arrivals for March were up 13 per cent on figures from March 2012.

The figure of 270,700 arrivals last month was the highest ever recorded for March, easily surpassing the previous high of 250,800 arrivals in March 2008, Statistics New Zealand population statistics project manager Susan Hollows says.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says there have been strong arrivals from several target markets, including Australia, North America, the UK and Germany.

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There was an almost 16 per cent growth in visitors from the UK, helped by having the Barmy Army in town to watch the English cricketers, Mr Bowler says.

Further, growth in the US and Canadian markets is partly being put down to tourism campaigns leveraging off the release of the first film in The Hobbit trilogy.

“Not only are our visitor arrivals up, but preference for a New Zealand holiday in the US market has shown a significant increase since December last year,” Mr Bowler said.

“There are seasonal factors that contributed to this strong March and as a result, we expect April’s figure to be weaker. Easter was earlier this year which will have supported the rise in Australia visitors in particular.”

There’s also been 16 per cent growth in the German market, which is less affected by things like Easter and sporting events, he said.

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