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Surge in Chinese tourists drives new record in visitors to New Zealand | Updated: 2013-05-24 08:43

A surge in Chinese tourists drove up the number of overseas visitors to New Zealand last month to a new record for April, the New Zealand government statistics agency announced Tuesday.

Total visitor arrivals last month were up 3 percent from April last year to 200,600, exceeding the previous April record of 197, 800 in 2011, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Visitor numbers increased despite the earlier timing of the Easter holiday, population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said in a statement.

"This year Easter fell in March, compared with early April last year. As a result, visitor arrivals this April were down in the first week of the month, but well up during the rest of the month, " she said.

The number of visitors from China showed the biggest change, with 6,600 more arrivals, or 36 percent higher, than in April 2012, and the majority were holidaymakers.

Last month's figure for Chinese visitors was five times higher than the 4,300 recorded 10 years ago in April 2003.

In the year to the end of April, 2.61 million overseas visitor arrived in New Zealand, unchanged from the April 2012 year, as falling visitor numbers from the United Kingdom, Malaysia, France and South Africa offset rises from China and Australia.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said in a statement that the figures for April showed steady growth from the sector's core markets with holiday arrivals for the first four months of the year up 9.8 percent on the same period last year.

Surge in Chinese tourists drives new record in visitors to New Zealand

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