New Zealand records highest border crossings in two years

New Zealand

New Zealand records highest border crossings in two years

New Zealand recorded more than a quarter of a million border crossings in April 2022 – the highest for a month since the pandemic started.

According to Stats NZ, there were 266,700 border crossings in New Zealand in April, which is the highest number recorded since border closures and travel restrictions were introduced in March 2020.

The 266,700 border crossings consisted of 125,100 arrivals and 141,600 departures from New Zealand, with the previous highest border crossing count recorded at 189,500 in May 2021.

However, current numbers remain well below the 1.2 million border crossings recorded in April 2019, before the pandemic started.

The border crossings can be classified into three main passenger types:

  • Migrants (people changing their country of residence);
  • Overseas visitors making short-term trips (less than 12 months); and
  • New Zealand residents making short-term trips.

New Zealand’s border restrictions have been relaxed in recent months after vaccination rates steadily increased in the country, resulting in a greater number of border crossings.

In addition, Easter and school holidays in April also boosted travel to and from New Zealand.

The recorded travel volumes are expected to be even higher in the coming months, with overseas visitors from 60 visa-waiver countries being allowed to enter New Zealand from early May 2022.

More than 54,000 overseas visitors in April 2022 arrived from Australia, which accounted for almost 80 per cent of all overseas visitor arrivals.

The main purpose for overseas visitors arriving in New Zealand in April 2022 was to visit friends and family (80 per cent), followed by holiday or vacation (9 per cent) and business (6 per cent).

Almost 65,000 New Zealand residents returned from overseas trips in April 2022 – the highest number recorded for returning Kiwis since March 2020.

Over half returned from Australia (54 per cent), followed by the Cook Islands (11 per cent), Fiji (9 per cent) and India (6 per cent).

Ever since border and travel restrictions were implemented in March 2020 by the federal government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, New Zealand’s border crossings barely exceeded 30,000, if at all.

The highest number observed in the early pandemic days was 38,231 in April 2020, which consisted of 6,256 arrivals and 31,975 departures.

The numbers picked up in mid-2021 during the trans-Tasman travel bubble, with border crossings of 85,874 (47,003 arrivals and 38,871 departures) in April 2021 and 189,482 (91,299 arrivals and 98,186 departures) in May 2021.

New Zealand’s border crossing volume tailed off in the following months before rising again steadily from February 2022 as the country started opening its borders to the rest of the world.