International visitor arrivals hit a monthly record for December of 381,000 to cap off a yearly record for 2013.
The number was up 21,000 on the previous record set in December 2011, according to Statistics New Zealand.
That rounded out a record total of international passenger numbers which surpassed 10 million for the first time in the December 2013 year, with a total of 5 million arrivals and 5 million departures.
Seasonally adjusted net migration, was steady at just under 3000, up from close to zero in December 2012, which means New Zealand had more arrivals than departures.
Statistics NZ figures indicate that pattern is on the back of more non-New Zealand citizens arriving to settle permanently, with 92,000 coming last month.
Westpac chief economist Felix Delbruck said if the trend continued as he expected net migration to New Zealand would rise to more than 30,000 by the second half of this year.
Meanwhile, in the December 2013 year, tourist arrivals passed the 2.7 million mark for the first time, increasing 6 per cent from the previous year.
A total of 221,000 Kiwis took an overseas trip in December 2013, more than ever before in the festive month, up 2 per cent from December 2012.
New Zealanders took 2.19 million trips, up 1 per cent from the previous year, with Australia still the dominant destination, accounting for just over 1 million departures.
The United States was an increasingly popular destination for holidaymakers, with 142,000 jetting off there in 2013, up 17 per cent from 2012.
Hawaiian Airlines began flights to Honolulu in 2013 and Air New Zealand has added capacity on its routes to North America.
Air New Zealand has reported demand on its North American and UK route increased by 6.1 per cent in December ahead of a capacity increase of 5.9 per cent, with load factors remaining steady at 88.3 per cent.
As a result New Zealand saw a jump in American tourists, with visitor arrivals from the US up 4500 people in December 2013, compared to the same period in 2012, to 29,000.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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