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Visitor in New Zealand hit record high in Dec.

The number of visitors to New Zealand dropped less than 1 percent last year despite the global economic turmoil. And in the month of December, visitor numbers hit a record high for a single month, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) said on Wednesday.


The 322,200 short-term overseas visitor arrivals in December was 4900, or 2 percent, higher than in December 2007.


Australian visitors had a big hand in the December figures, with numbers crossing the Tasman up 6 percent, or 7100, from a year earlier to 132,900, also a highest-ever monthly total.


The estimated average number of visitors in this country each day in December was 3 percent higher than a year earlier at 182,800, but the average intended stay of visitors who arrived in December was 22 days, down from 23 days in December 2007.


For the year to December, visitor arrivals were down 7200, or less than 1 percent, from a year earlier at 2.46 million.


Of those visitor arrivals, 1.18 million came on holiday, down 2percent from the previous year. Numbers visiting friends and relatives rose 4 percent to 743,000, while those here on business were down 5 percent to 254,400.


Korean visitor numbers fell 20,400 or 21 percent in 2008 compared with 2007, while numbers from Japan fell 19,200 or 16 percent, those from China were down 8400 or 7 percent, and from Britain fell 7600 or 3 percent.


For the 2008 year, New Zealand residents left on 1.97m short-term overseas trips, a drop of 13,100 or 1 percent from 2007.


Tourism Industry Association chief executive Tim Cossar said the December figures prop up what could have been a dismal year for tourism, and are a good result in the circumstances.


(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2009)