30 Sep 2019

Tourism NZ welcomes chance to share data on Kiwi tourists

1:56 pm on 30 September 2019

Tourism New Zealand could branch out into the domestic visitor market following an independent review.

A new report recommends Tourism New Zealand gather data on the needs of domestic visitors as they visit different parts of the country. Photo: 123rf

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment commissioned-review considered how the organisation can support the country's tourism needs into the future.

It found Tourism New Zealand is exceptional at marketing the country as a destination and looks at how its role can be expanded.

It recommended the roles of Tourism New Zealand should be expanded to provide in-depth insight into domestic tourism and review how visitors are dispersed in the regions.

The review report said the organisation was in a good position to provide in-depth insight into domestic tourism and review regional dispersal.

"TNZ provides in-depth insight into the preferences of international visitors. No national-level entity systematically collects and shares insights on the preferences of domestic visitors," the report said.

"The absence of systematic information on the preferences of domestic visitors is a significant gap. TNZ is best placed to fill that gap."

It marks a shift for the organisation which has traditionally honed in on the international visitor market.

GLENORCHY, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 2018: Tourists visiting the famed red hut at Glenorchy on the banks of Lake Wakatipu

International tourists have been the main target of Tourism New Zealand's campaigns until now. Photo: 123RF

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall said the organisation was in a good position to look into domestic tourism.

"Tourism New Zealand has long held the view or position of providing the voice of international visitors to the industry and to government," Mr England-Hall said.

"I think with that baseline expertise in insights, it made a lot of sense to extend or propose to extend that role into looking at the whole visitor economy, not just the international part."

The review was an independent endorsement of Tourism New Zealand's work, he said.

The next step was to go through the individual recommendations and work out how to best address them, Mr England-Hall said.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa, chief executive, Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts Photo: SUPPLIED - TIA

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said the sector was crying out for more domestic data so the proposed new insight was welcome.

"Perhaps the most radical of all the recommendations is for Tourism New Zealand to play a role in domestic tourism, not in marketing, but in providing knowledge about what's happening in the domestic visitor market. That's an area we know there's not a lot of good information currently," Mr Roberts said.

Tourism New Zealand was well placed to provide domestic tourism data as it already provided insight on the international market, he said.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis welcomed the report, saying TNZ was a world leader in destination marketing.

"The role TNZ plays in our tourism success cannot be underestimated. They come up with innovative, informed marketing campaigns that work, and are respected worldwide," he said.

"The findings show there are opportunities for TNZ to expand their role and apply their expertise in other areas of the tourism system, including in data and insights."

Tourism is the country's biggest export industry, valued at $39.1 billion last year.

Review panel chairperson David Smol said Tourism New Zealand set a benchmark in destination marketing.

"The role that Tourism New Zealand plays is vital, and will become more important to the success of tourism in New Zealand as we face some significant challenges including softening growth, fierce competition from other destinations in the world and increased focus on the sustainability of tourism," he said.

"While Tourism New Zealand needs to continue to focus on its core marketing and insights role, there are opportunities to further leverage these capabilities, including to more fully inform decision-making by tourism businesses and destination development by regions.

"Additionally, building a picture of the preferences of domestic visitors would enable an enhanced understanding of all potential visitors to a region."

Another focus will be on climate change, which the report found may mean international visitors reconsider their travel.

"Potential visitors from some long-haul markets (mainly in Europe) may be less likely to choose to come to New Zealand as concerns about climate change increase," the report said.

Mr Davis said Tourism New Zealand would lead research looking at what impact that could have on visitors and the industry.

"It also makes clear there's a growing concern about carbon emissions which is predicted to have a significant effect on travel choices globally over coming years," he said.

"With this in mind, TNZ have agreed to undertake immediate action to understand the impact climate concerns have on potential visitors choosing New Zealand as a destination."

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