Rugby World Cup boosts travel to Japan

The Rugby World Cup in Japan boosted trips home by New Zealand residents in November 2019, Stats NZ said today.

New Zealand residents returned home from 233,700 trips in November 2019. This is an increase of 11,800 (5.3 percent) compared with November 2018. The largest increase was from Japan with 5,800 more arrivals.

“The Rugby World Cup being hosted in Japan was a drawcard for New Zealand-resident travellers, based on the increased number of arrivals during and after the tournament,” population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said.

Month 2017 2018 2019
January 5205 5473 6650
February 3516 3720 4033
March 2705 2709 2983
April 3813 4571 5708
May 3854 4653 4546
June 2826 3488 3752
July 3029 4053 4468
August 2107 2471 2736
September 2812 3167 4496
October 5268 6152 8694
November 3627 3780 9540
December 2066 2468

The first match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup was on 20 September 2019 and the final was played on 2 November 2019. Using daily arrivals data from mid-September 2019 to mid-November 2019, around 8,500 more New Zealand-resident arrivals from Japan were recorded than in the same period the year before.

This follows previous Rugby World Cup trends where more departures were made by New Zealand residents in the two-month World Cup window (1 September to 31 October) compared with the same period in the previous year. In 2007, there were around 9,100 more departures to France and the United Kingdom, and in 2015, there were around 8,200 more to the United Kingdom.

The total number of New Zealand-resident traveller arrivals for the year ended November 2019 was 3.08 million, up by 68,400 (2.3 percent) from the year ended November 2018. This is the highest number of New Zealand-resident arrivals in a given 12-month period.

Visitor arrivals decrease in November 2019

Overseas visitor arrivals decreased by 13,700 (3.5 percent) to 372,100 in November 2019, compared with November 2018, but remained 12,000 (3.3 percent) higher than in November 2017.

For the year ended November 2019, the number of visitor arrivals increased 42,200 (1.1 percent) to 3.9 million.

This is the lowest annual growth in a November year since 2012, and down from 12 percent growth in the year ended November 2016.

Year-ended November Annual change (%)
2010 3.3
2011 2.5
2012 -0.7
2013 5.3
2014 5.1
2015 8.9
2016 11.7
2017 7.6
2018 3.6
2019 1.1

The year ended November 2019 saw decreases in the number of visitors coming to New Zealand for a holiday (down 59,400 or 2.9 percent), or to visit friends or relatives (down 33,600 or 3.1 percent). Part of the observed drop is due to an increase in the number of visitors whose travel purpose was not stated.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.