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Kiwis splurged on travel while dollar was strong

Sep 24th, 2011 | By | Category: Latest News, News

FLYING HIGH: A RWC window display with the exchange rate running below at the NZX Centre, Taranaki St Wharf.


RWC TOURISTS: There was a high number of Australian RWC visitors in July and August 2011.

WHILE it lasted, the strong NZ dollar got Kiwis travelling overseas in record numbers, but it didn’t deter tourists coming here.

A record number of New Zealanders travelled overseas in the year to August 2011, with short term departures up by 6%. Overseas visitors coming here rose by 5% in the same period.

In the August, 2011, year, there were 2.101 million short-term departures by New Zealand residents, up 119,000 from August 2010, which had 1.982 million.

“The stronger and forecast stable foreign exchange rate has helped increase outbound travel in all areas – retail and corporate,” says Andrew Olsen CEO for the Travel Agents’ Association New Zealand. 

“It’s also winter here, so more than usual are heading to warmer climates,” he says. “Major destinations are the Pacific Rim including Australia.” 

The largest increase was in trips to Australia, with 89,000 short-term visits in August, 2011, alone.

Statistics New Zealand says the RWC, which started this month, contributed to an increase in visitors to New Zealand, 175,900 in August, 2011, compared to 168,100 in August, 2010.

Economist Dr Adrian Slack says NZ’s currency has been strong against some but not all currencies. The Kiwi has been quite weak compared to the Australian dollar.

Professor Alfred Haug, director of post-graduate economic studies at Otago University, says a rise in the New Zealand dollar will generally make it less expensive for New Zealanders to travel abroad, but will make it more expensive for foreign tourists to stay in New Zealand.

Brooker United Travel Wellington says Australia and Fiji were the most popular destinations for Kiwis this winter and some New Zealanders who hate rugby planned their overseas trips to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.

In July and August combined, visitors from Australia and the United Kingdom equally led the numbers, each with 1200 RWC visitors to New Zealand. 

Some 85,100 permanent and long-term migrants arrived in NZ in the August, 2011, year, a 4% increase on the year before’s 81,827.

But those departing permanent and long-term (82,800) showed a 23% increase over the 67,317 of the previous year, meaning the net gain was only 2300. The net gain was 84% lower than the year to August, 2010.

Statistics New Zealand says this change was mainly caused by more departures to Australia, a net loss to that country of 32,700 in the August, 2011, year.

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is a Whitireia journalism student. Holds Bachelor of Communications, major in Journalism Studies, composite minor in Media Studies and Expressive Arts.
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