Wellington, Dec 4

T

ravel was New Zealand's largest services export and import for the September 2023 quarter, statistics department Stats NZ said on Monday.

Travel imports were NZ$1.96 billion, and exports were NZ$2.48 billion in the September 2023 quarter, up from NZ$1.4 billion and NZ$1.65 billion, respectively, in the September 2022 quarter, Xinhua news agency quoted Stats NZ as saying.

"The value of travel imports has exceeded that seen in the September 2019 quarter demonstrating a return to pre-Covid levels," Stats NZ international trade manager Alasdair Allen said.

There were 645,498 overseas visitors to New Zealand in the September 2023 quarter, or 84 per cent of the 768,468 overseas visitors in the September 2019 quarter, Allen said.

There were 50,529 visitors from China in the September 2023 quarter, or 59 per cent of the September 2019 quarter's total, he said.

Travel imports cover expenditure on both goods and services by New Zealand residents while overseas, such as holidaymakers, business travelers, and international students, according to Stats NZ.

Transportation had been New Zealand's top services import since the March 2020 quarter, driven by high costs of sea transportation.

It was overtaken by travel in the September 2023 quarter, it said.

"Travel exports haven't returned to pre-Covid levels or seasonal patterns, but instead show an unseasonal uptick for the September quarter over June," Allen said.

Recent international events like the FIFA Women's World Cup, hosted jointly by New Zealand and Australia, may have provided a boost for both travel exports and imports, he said.

Travel lifts New Zealand's international services trade

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