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Tourism arrivals reach seven-year high

13:00 AEST Sat Jul 21 2012
AAP
Some 151,100 people arrived for a short-term visit in June, the most for that month since 2005 when the British and Irish Lions toured the nation
Some 151,100 people arrived for a short-term visit in June, the most for that month since 2005 when the British and Irish Lions toured the nation (Thinkstock)

The number of tourists arriving in New Zealand rose to a seven-year high for the month of June as people flooded in from across the Tasman.

Some 151,100 people arrived for a short-term visit in June, the most for that month since 2005 when the British and Irish Lions toured the nation, Statistics New Zealand said.

That was 15 per cent more than in June last year, when flights were cancelled by the Chilean volcanic ash cloud. Annual short-term arrivals rose 5.4 per cent to 2.6 million from a year earlier.

The increase was led by a 25 per cent gain in the number of visitors from Australia to 64,800, of which 29 per cent were Kiwis living across the Ditch.

There was also a 7.4 per cent increase in the number of Chinese tourists to 6,700.

The tourism sector has been in the doldrums since the global financial crisis in 2008, when financial markets collapsed and oil prices surged, causing widespread unemployment and eroding people's discretionary spending on long-haul travel.

New Zealanders continued to quit the country for Australia in June, with 1,029 more people leaving than arriving.

The net outflow was smaller than the 1,491 figure for June 2011, taking the annual outflow to 3,191 - reversing an inflow of 3,867 for the previous year.