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New Zealand – September 5, 2016 Heading across the ditch is still the most popular overseas holiday destination for Kiwis, despite a growing interest in South East Asia destinations, according to the latest Mastercard Asia Pacific Destinations Index.

New Zealanders represent the largest volume of all visitors to Australia, with 18.2% of all in-bound tourists from New Zealand. New Zealanders are the number one visitors to Brisbane, and the second largest group of all visitors to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

The Asia Pacific region overall contributed 23.0% of the world’s international overnight arrivals and 30% of its international tourism receipts in 2015. The region has seen the strongest growth in international tourism since 2005, and New Zealanders are increasingly making the most of the greater choice on offer.

“While Australia remains the number one overseas destination for Kiwis currently, we can expect to see habits change in the next few years as Asia becomes more affordable and accessible,” says Peter Chisnall, Mastercard Country Manager for New Zealand & Pacific Islands.

“Asia Pacific holidays are increasingly appealing to budget-conscious travellers; destinations are world-class and relatively close by overseas travel standards. Asia Pacific destinations also offer great value for money for eating, drinking, accommodation and getting around, and with the expansion of new airline routes and competitive airfares into South East Asia, adventurous Kiwis are increasingly looking to explore new, exciting and unfamiliar places,” says Chisnall.

For New Zealanders looking to make their budgets stretch, Mastercard’s prepaid travel cards offer great benefits to assist with saving prior to getting away and flexibility whilst you’re on holiday.

“Collectively, Mastercard’s Multi-Currency Cash Passport, Air New Zealand OneSmart and Qantas Cash can load up to 9 currencies for a number of Asia Pacific destinations. These enable travellers to pre-load currency and favourable exchange rates in advance of leaving New Zealand, which means travellers can budget more accurately ahead of their trip, lock in exchange rates as they occur, and then keep track of costs while away[1].”

Asia Pacific travel by the numbers

Asia Pacific travel translates to US$2.39 trillion and 157.8 million jobs in 2016 making Asia Pacific’s tourism industry the largest in the world by tourism GDP and employment.

China continues to contribute the largest share of tourists throughout Asia Pacific, with 50.4 million tourists projected to travel to destinations across Asia Pacific this year. Chinese tourists make up 15.7 percent of total international overnight arrivals in the region at the destination city level.

Overall, the top three destinations within Oceania are all in Australia with Sydney leading at 3.4 million international overnight arrivals followed by Melbourne (2.4 million) and Brisbane (2.3 million).

In New Zealand, the top destinations are Auckland (1.6 million), Queenstown (1.0 million) and Christchurch (0.9 million).

The Asia Pacific Destinations Index also provides insights into where tourists visiting New Zealand are visiting from – with tourists most likely to originate from Australia (39%), China (11%) and the UK (7%).

The top ten Asia Pacific destinations ranked by international overnight visitor numbers:

1.       Bangkok – 21.5 million2.       Singapore  – 12.1 million3.       Kuala Lumpur – 12.0 million4.       Tokyo – 11.7 million5.       Seoul – 10.2 million 6.       Phuket – 9.9 million7.       Hong Kong – 8.4  million8.       Bali – 7.8 million9.       Taipei – 7.3 million10.     Pattaya – 7.3 million

Download the full report here:

About the Mastercard Asia Pacific Destinations Index

The first Mastercard Asia Pacific Destinations Index is an offshoot of Mastercard’s annual Global Destination Cities Index.

In recent years, Asia Pacific cities have increasingly dominated the fastest growing and most visited destinations in the world. According to 2015’s Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, five of the ten most visited cities in the world were in Asia Pacific.

The Asia Pacific Destinations Index takes a more in-depth, focused look at these tourism trends, ranking 167 destinations, including island resorts as well as towns and cities across the region, in terms of the total number of international overnight arrivals; cross-border spending; and the total number of nights spent at each destination. These 167 destinations are drawn from 22 countries across Asia Pacific and represent 90 percent of all international overnight arrivals within the region.

Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the destinations, using custom-made algorithms.

This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data.

About Mastercard
Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNZ, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Mastercard Media Contact
Emma Ward
Acumen Republic for Mastercard
+64 4 494 5121
+64 21 151 6594

[1] Mastercard’s Multi-Currency Cash Passport stores up to nine currencies on the same card: New Zealand Dollars, Australian Dollars, Euros, US Dollars, Great British Pounds, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollars, Hong Kong Dollars and Singapore Dollars.