International arrivals into New Zealand in September jumped 26 per cent on the same month last year, resulting in a bumper start to spring tourism.
Statistics New Zealand figures revealed today, show that 74,355 of September arrivals were visiting New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup 2011, more than a third of all arrivals for the month.
The total number of international Rugby World Cup 2011 visitors from July to the end of September now stands around 80,000, but the final total won’t be known until data for October has been collected.
Forecasts previously indicated a total of 95,000 visitors for the event.
The biggest month-on-month change in September came from traditional rugby nations including France , Ireland , South Africa , the United Kingdom and Argentina .
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said that while the September growth is clearly a result of the rugby, the continued, steady growth seen out of Singapore (up 66.0 per cent), Malaysia (up 36.7 per cent) and China (up 7.6 per cent) demonstrates the importance of the long-term destination game.
“This is a fantastic result for the Rugby World Cup 2011and is well worth celebrating.” says Mr Bowler.
“Growth figures out of Asia this month demonstrate that Tourism New Zealand’s international partnerships and marketing campaigns, along with increases in airline capacity from Jetstar Asia and Air Asia X, are continuing to achieve success.
“Monthly increases from China have also continued, a pattern we expect to see repeated in the coming months with China Southern Airlines increasing flight frequency from three times per week to daily from 1 November.
In the year ended September 2011, 2,548,094 international visitors arrived in New Zealand , 1.2 per cent up the same period last year.