12 Jun 2019

Easter dates change pays dividends for tourism

1:06 pm on 12 June 2019

The changed timing of Easter boosted international visitor arrivals in April, despite a drop in the Chinese market.

Independent traveler numbers exceeding tour groups

International tourism numbers are up, despite a drop in Chinese visitors. Photo: Melanie Phipps

Stats NZ released its visitor arrival figures today, finding a healthy boost from Trans Tasman travel after Easter arrived later in the year.

Stats NZ confirmed there was no clear evidence that the Christchurch mosque attacks affected visitor arrivals.

Good Friday was on 19 April this year. In 2018, it was on 30 March, and 14 April in 2017.

The total overseas arrivals reached 307,000 in April, up 23,500 from April 2018.

Arrivals from Australia bumped up about 15 percent from the previous April, reaching just over 130,000.

Stats NZ population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said travel from across the Tasman was boosted by the timing of Easter this year which fell in the school holidays and close to Anzac Day.

"This made it an attractive option for many holidaymakers, but particularly those visiting family and friends."

However, arrivals from China slumped 21 percent from the same month last year, reaching 36,600 in April.

"Last year, visitor arrivals from China were buoyed by an incentive scheme from Amway, which saw an additional 6000 visitors from China in April 2018," Mr Islam said.

"Even taking these numbers into account, visitor numbers from China were still lower than 2017."

Despite the slump, China remains the second-largest visitor market after Australia.