International visitor numbers fall

23:06, Aug 20 2012

The number of foreign visitors coming to New Zealand in July has fallen to the lowest levels for that month since 2007, but tourists from China continue to rise strongly.

Statistics New Zealand figures show 173,500 visitors came here in July this year, compared with 176,100 in the same month last yea, a drop of 1 per cent.

"Although there were fewer visitors overall, arrivals from China rose 25 per cent compared with July 2011," Population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said.  

The number of visitors from Japan returned close to the level of 2010, after being hit by earthquakes last year.

Fewer visitors arrived from Malaysia, Korea, and Britain compared with July 2011.

In the July 2012 year, 2.6 million visitors arrived in New Zealand, up 6 per cent from the July 2011 year, with a boost from the Rugby World Cup.

The previous July year was down because of the Christchurch earthquake in February and disruption to air travel in June because of ash from Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano.

New Zealanders went on 205,600 overseas trips in July 2012, down on the 231,600 trips taken in July 2011 which was boosted by later than usual school holidays that year.