Domestic tourism boom set to take off

26 Jun 2020

  • Almost nine in 10 New Zealanders planning a domestic holiday in next six months
  • Queenstown destination of choice with 25% of New Zealanders planning to spend most of their travels there
  • More than one in 10 planning to spend between $1,000-$2,000 per person

We’re all planning a Kiwi holiday it seems, with an astounding nine in 10 (89%) New Zealanders surveyed stating they are planning to take a domestic holiday in the next six months.

The MYOB Tourism Snapshot, a nationwide survey of over 500 New Zealanders, revealed that 35% of New Zealanders have already booked a domestic holiday and just under two thirds (65%) are planning to book.

The results revealed a significant majority of people are planning to travel in the next six months; almost a quarter (23%) will be heading off on their trip in the next month; a third (33%) in two to three months; and another third (33%) in the next four to six months.

MYOB New Zealand Country Manager, Ingrid Cronin-Knight, says the news of a potential local travel boom will be welcome news to tourism business operators, particularly those in regions that are strongly reliant on the international visitor market.

“It’s no secret that the global impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent actions required to protect our corner of paradise, have hit our tourism industry extremely hard,” says Ingrid.

“However, it’s really heartening to see that New Zealanders are actively considering how they can make a difference - not only in terms of simply booking a domestic holiday, but in the sentiment we’ve seen in our research where many have said they want to support local tourism operators.”

Who’s booking and what’s prompting action  

According to the findings of the research, just over a quarter (26%) of New Zealanders were prompted to book a domestic trip because of international travel restrictions, closely followed by nearly a quarter (24%) who said they want to support the local economy and local businesses, and over a fifth (22%) who said they need a change of scene after the lockdown period.

Younger people (16-24 years-old) and older New Zealanders (65+ years-old) are among those more likely to need a change of scene (both 28%), while New Zealanders in the 25-34 year-old age group are more driven to support the local economy (31%).

In line with the above, closing the border has also led to New Zealanders being more likely to consider a domestic trip (47%). In fact, more than half (56%) of those aged between 16-24 years-old said the border closures prompted them to consider local travel more than usual, followed by those aged 25-34 years-old (54%).

When it comes to the timing of their travels, Gen Z’ers are particularly eager to head off on their holiday, with more than a third (35%) of those in the 16-24 year-old age-group planning a trip in the next month.

Looking at how travel plans differ by region however, Cantabrians are most likely to have a trip away in June and July (29%), compared to Wellington (20%) and Auckland (19%) residents.

Destinations and attractions

Queenstown is New Zealand’s most popular domestic holiday destination*, with a quarter (25%) of New Zealanders citing the holiday hotspot as the place in which they’ll spend most of their travels, followed by Auckland (17%), Wellington (15%) and Bay of Plenty (15%).

Unsurprisingly, the ultimate adventure destination is also particularly popular with younger New Zealanders, with 35% of those aged 25-34 years old and 28% of those in the 16-24 year-old age-group, planning a visit.

When it comes to what local attractions New Zealanders are planning to enjoy, some good news is on the way for hospitality and retail operators, with dining and shopping falling in the top three choices, followed by a taste of the great outdoors:  

  • Local cafes and restaurants (62%)
  • Nearby towns and cities (52%)
  • Local shops (50%)
  • Natural attractions (40%)
  • Local beaches (35%)
  • National parks (32%)

Travelling with purpose

Despite many couples and families spending extra time together during lockdown, wanting to get away with their partner (30%) or enjoying a family trip (20%) are cited as main purposes for New Zealanders choosing to book a domestic holiday, according to the research.

Alternatively, being separated from loved ones during the lockdown is also providing impetus for New Zealanders planning a trip, with more than a quarter (29%) booking domestic travel to reconnect with family and friends.

Seeing other parts of New Zealand is less of an incentive, with just under one in 10 (9%) citing this as their main purpose for travel.

Budgets and bargains

Although New Zealanders are known to love a good bargain, we aren’t shying away from provisioning for healthy holiday spending either. In fact, 20% plan to spend between $500-$1,000 total per person on their next domestic trip, while 16% plan to spend between $1,000-$2,000.

Broken down further, insights around budgeted spend (per person) also revealed:

More than a quarter (26%) will budget $100 -$200 for dining

  • 14% will budget between $100-$200 for accommodation – the same amount as those budgeting $200-$300
  • Just over one in 10 (11%) will budget between $500-$1000 for accommodation
  • 19% will budget between $100-$200 for tours/attractions
  • 21% will budget between $100-$200 to spend at the local shops
  • 22% will budget between $100-$200 for transportation

Despite budgeting for their travels, 43% of those surveyed said lower prices would make it more attractive to travel domestically, while 21% said special offers or promotions would also do the same.

“Given the current challenges facing our economy, it is an encouraging sign that New Zealanders are feeling confident enough to allocate a healthy budget for their domestic holiday expenditure so they can enjoy some of the great dining, activities and accommodation on offer,” says Ingrid Cronin-Knight.

“With that money being spent on a broad range of businesses and activities, it will provide a welcome boost for many local operators, especially in sectors like retail and hospitality which have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Alongside the investment confirmed by the Government in the 2020 Budget, the level of local and national support for our tourism industry is certainly growing – the consideration now is how we can sustain and build on the level of consumer interest we’re seeing currently.”

International travel

Although the prospects of local travel are looking positive, border restrictions and ongoing uncertainty generated by COVID-19 are still limiting the possibility of overseas travel. In fact, just 22% of respondents have made plans or booked to travel offshore in the next six months.

Those in the traditional OE age-group, including New Zealanders aged 16-24 years-old (28%) and 25-34 years-old (34%), are most likely to be considering overseas travel in the near future.


Notes to editors

*Top ten destinations where New Zealanders plan to spend most of their domestic travels

  1. Queenstown 25%
  2. Auckland 17%
  3. Wellington 15%
  4. Bay of Plenty 15%
  5. Canterbury 14%
  6. Taupo 10%
  7. Wanaka 9%
  8. Nelson 9%
  9. Milford Sound 8%
  10. Hawkes Bay 8%

For more information please contact:

Janelle Ericksen, MYOB, PR Specialist
M: 021 1050 490 / E:

Gerard Blank, The Agency Communications Limited, Director
P: 03 341 5841 / M: 0275 243 629 / E:

MYOB Tourism Snapshot - methodology

Dynata surveyed 500 New Zealanders between the 8th - 14th June 2020. Respondents were invited to complete the online survey which was sampled to achieve a nationally representative sample from across New Zealand.

The final make-up of the sample was in line with nationally representative statistics by age, gender, and region.

About MYOB

MYOB is a leading business platform with a core purpose of helping more businesses in New Zealand and Australia start, survive and succeed. At the heart of MYOB is a customer base of 1.2 million businesses and a network of more than 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and consultants, for whom MYOB delivers end-to-end business and accounting solutions. MYOB operates across four key segments: Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), Enterprise, Financial Services and Practice. For more information visit or follow @MYOB on Twitter.