Visitor arrivals for the year have seen Japan bounce back to reclaim the position of New Zealand’s fifth largest source of international visitor arrivals – a position it lost to Germany in March 2014.

Total arrivals from Japan are up 3.8 per cent for the year ending in July.

The growth comes as result of increased flight capacity out of Japan and a coordinated effort between Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand to drive shoulder season arrivals.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said, “We know there is strong demand for New Zealand in Japan and it is great to see our combined activity in this market driving growth.

“While the competition for fifth place is currently hotly contested between the two markets, it is a great growth story, no matter how you look at it.”

Total international visitor arrivals for the year-ending July are up 5.8 per cent on the previous year, and holiday arrivals are up 8.4 per cent.

“This marks the biggest ever July, with 196,900 arrivals to New Zealand during the month.

“Australia has maintained growth as a source market with strong holiday arrivals in July resulting in holiday arrivals being up 6.1 per cent for the year.

“With the recent snowfall across the South Island we expect to see the number of Australian winter holiday-makers continue to increase as we head into the remainder of the ski season.”

Total visitor arrivals from China are also up 7.8 per cent for the year.

“We are continuing to see a positive change in the visitor mix from China, with most of the growth coming from independent travellers, rather than short stay group tours, which is an encouraging trend,” Mr Bowler said.

Strong growth was seen across Asian markets including Singapore (up 18.4 per cent) and Malaysia up (20.9 per cent), as well as the emerging markets of Indonesia (up 39.4 per cent) and India (up 14.3 per cent) for the year.

Positive growth continues out of the Western markets like the US (up 11.1 per cent), the UK (up 1.9 per cent) and Germany (up 16.1 per cent).

“As we approach the final of instalment of The Hobbit Trilogy and our new 100% Pure New Zealand campaign activity kicks into gear in these markets, we are confident that this growth will continue,” Mr Bowler said.