The Chinese New Year holiday drove a record number of visitors to New Zealand last month, the government statistics agency said Thursday.
Monthly visitor arrivals numbered 343,400 in January, up 14 percent from January last year, according to Statistics New Zealand.
"Visitor arrivals from China picked up towards the end of January, in the lead-up to the Chinese New Year, which occurred in early February this year," population statistics manager Jo-Anne Skinner said in a statement.
"The timing of this popular travel period led to a 59-percent increase in arrivals from China compared with January 2015," Skinner said.
In January 2016 year, visitor arrivals reached a record 3.17 million, up 11 percent from the previous year, with Australia contributing 518,900 holidaymakers, China 285,300 and the United States 153,800.
February was likely to be another strong month for Chinese New Year holiday visitors, but other factors, including a weaker New Zealand dollar were helping too, said Kevin Bowler, chief executive of the government's Tourism New Zealand agency.
"Certainly New Zealand's lower dollar is playing its part and globally, international economies are a long way from the situation we faced during the global financial crisis," Bowler said in a statement.