Foreign language students are coming to New Zealand shores and spending again after a three-year slump hit the industry, according to latest figures released by Statistics New Zealand.
Statistics New Zealand's English Language Providers (ELP) survey found there were 39,668 international students enrolled in English language schools in New Zealand in the year ended March 2008 – an increase of 1940 (5.1 per cent) from the previous year.
Expenditure by the students was $242 million, $7 million higher than for the previous March year.
Students from Saudi Arabia led the way, in terms of the increase in numbers and expenditure.
Students from Saudi Arabia totalled 665 in the year to March, up 35 per cent, but have increased by 2247 (708.8 per cent) since the March 2004 year.
Their expenditure increased $3.9 million (68.8 per cent), reflecting the increase in numbers. Expenditure on tuition and related fees by Saudi Arabian students has increased $8.6 million since the March 2004 year.
South Korean students totalled 1141, up 16.2 per cent on last year.
Expenditure by these students has increased $8.6 million (47.5 per cent) since March 2006, while expenditure by Chinese students decreased $10.8 million (31.3 per cent).
It is the second year running that overall expenditure on tuition and related fees has increased, following a 56.7 per cent decline between the March 2003 and March 2006 years, said government statistician Geoff Bascand.
The estimated total value of expenditure by all international students studying in New Zealand was $1514 million for the year, down $36 million from the previous year.