28 Aug 2017

International travel almost quadrupled since 1980s

8:03 pm on 28 August 2017

The number of New Zealanders making trips overseas has nearly quadrupled in about 30 years.

Wellington Airport terminal

Australia remains the top overseas destination for New Zealanders. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Figures released today by Statistics New Zealand show 2.76 million New Zealanders made a trip overseas for the year ended July 2017, up from 702,000 in 1988.

New Zealand travellers also made a record 302,400 trips overseas for the month of July 2017, up 9 percent from the month of July 2016.

Statistics New Zealand's population statistics manager Peter Dolan said the increases were due to New Zealanders travelling more to Australia, China and the United Kingdom.

New Zealanders trips to China, excluding Hong Kong, rose to 111,160 in the July 2017 year.

That figure was up 20 percent from the July 2016 year, where only 92,500 people travelled to the country.

"The strong increase in New Zealand-resident departures to China since 2007 coincided with the rise in the goods trade with China, which almost tripled in the last decade," Mr Dolan said.

New Zealanders also took 117,220 trips to the United Kingdom in the July 2017 year, up 2 percent from last year and 26 percent higher than what it was in the July-2007 year.

Despite the increases, Australia has remained the top overseas destination for New Zealanders, with 1.2 million people making a trip in the July 2017 year.

Those travellers made up nearly 44 percent of total overseas departures, down from 50 percent in 2007 and 54 percent in 1997.

The top overseas destinations for New Zealand travellers remained unchanged from 2007, which, excluding Australia, were the Cook Islands, Fiji, the United Kingdom, China and the United States.