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1st July, 2020

Domestic tourism boom ahead: Kiwis share their top 10 destinations

New research from MYOB reveals 89 percent of Kiwis are planning a domestic holiday in the next six months, and we know where they’re headed.

Following a period of isolation in lockdown restrictions, New Zealanders are preparing to step out in droves according to MYOB’s Tourism Snapshot.

The nationwide survey revealed that of those planning to take a domestic holiday in the next six months, 35 percent of people have already booked, while 65 percent are planning to book.

Key highlights of the MYOB Tourism Snapshot:

  • 23% of respondents plan to go on holiday in the next month, 33% in 2-3 months
  • 25% of respondents plan to spend most of their time in Queenstown, making it the destination of choice for Kiwis on domestic holiday
  • More than one in 10 plans to spend between $1,000-$2,000 per holidaymaker

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A welcome boost in difficult times


MYOB New Zealand Country Manager, Ingrid Cronin-Knight, said the news of a potential local travel boom would be welcomed by NZ’s tourism business operators, particularly those in regions dependent 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,” said Cronin-Knight.

“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.”

Top 10 destinations where holidaymakers will spend most of their time:

  • Queenstown — 25%
  • Auckland — 17%
  • Wellington — 15%
  • Bay of Plenty — 15%
  • Canterbury — 14%
  • Taupo — 10%
  • Wanaka — 9%
  • Nelson — 9%
  • Milford Sound — 8%
  • Hawkes Bay — 8%

Revered as NZ’s ultimate adventure destination, Queenstown is particularly popular among younger people – of those respondents planning a trip there, 35 percent are aged 25-34 and 28 percent are 16-24.


How Kiwis are set to spend


The coming boost to tourism is also good news for retail and hospitality businesses in these places, with 62 percent of respondents planning to spend time at local cafes and restaurants, 52 percent in nearby towns and cities, and 50 percent saying they’d be visiting local shops.

“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,” said 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.”


Domestic boost will only offer partial return of consumer spend


While the survey results indicate a coming uptick in tourism activity, business operators shouldn’t expect a total return to pre-coronavirus activity until international tourism returns.

That’s because, according to the Tourism Industry Aotearoa website, international visitors account for around half the $16.2 billion that tourism contributes to GDP in New Zealand.

“Whatever we do, we’re not going to fill that hole just by drumming up domestic travel or the Trans-Tasman bubble,” said economist Peter Clough in a recent article in Reuters, referring to the proposal that would allow travel between Australia and NZ.

Regardless of when international visitation returns, NZ tourism-related business operators are advised to make plans for a slow, but hopefully steady, uplift in activity over the months ahead.