Figures released today show New Zealand hosted 1,001,880 Australian visitors between May 2008 and May 2009.

Taking advantage of these statistics, Tourism New Zealand is launching a new online campaign, ‘Thanks a Million Oz’. Offering a “Millionaire’s Holiday” (eight nights in luxury New Zealand lodges, complete with helicopter transfers), entrants are required to write 25 words about New Zealand.

“This record is an important milestone for the New Zealand tourism industry. It shows that the increased focus we have put on the Australian market over the last twelve months to offset reductions in other markets has paid off,” Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said.

Launched a decade ago, the 100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign has seen Australian arrivals to New Zealand double. Coupled with Air New Zealand’s own $2.5 million campaign, Australians now make up over 40% of external tourism and contribute around $1 billion in visitor spending.