WELLINGTON, Sept.21 (Xinhua) -- The number of Asian visitors to New Zealand, particularly from China and Malaysia, has risen significantly over the past year, New Zealand's tourism authority announced Wednesday.
In the 12 months to August, 2,502,311 international visitors arrived in New Zealand, with Malaysia tourists up 48.6 percent and Chinese up 18.2 percent.
"The 18.2 percent increase in arrivals from China continues to reflect the greater interest in traveling to New Zealand from this market, and the New Zealand industry is seeing the benefits of that," said Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler.
"We've seen increases from China every month since May 2010. This will no doubt continue to increase with China Southern Airlines increasing flight frequency from three times per week to daily commencing later this year."
Continued rises had also been witnessed from Singapore and Malaysia, believed to be driven by increases in airline capacity and increased marketing.
Malaysia with 29,800 visitors had overtaken India at 28,600 as the 10th largest source country for visitor arrivals for year ended August, said Bowler.
Falling arrivals from the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan were not unexpected considering the ongoing impacts of the global financial crisis and the earthquakes in Japan and Christchurch, he said.
"We look forward to seeing further increases in international visitor arrivals for the Rugby World Cup 2011, giving many New Zealand businesses a boost during the tourism industry's shoulder season," Bowler said.
Both overseas trips by New Zealand residents and short-term visitor arrivals were at record levels for an August month in New Zealand, Statistics New Zealand said Wednesday.
Overseas trips by New Zealand residents were up 6 percent to 191,000, while visitor arrivals were up 5 percent to 175,900 and there was a net inflow of permanent and long-term migrants for the first time since February, according to population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn.
In August, 4,400 visitors said they were in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup. Of this figure, about half (2,100) arrived in the last week of August. Since July, 5,600 visitors have indicated they were arriving for the Rugby World Cup.