6 Jun 2021

New Zealanders spend extra $1.1b on domestic tourism after lockdowns

8:54 pm on 6 June 2021

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) has no plans to stop marketing Aotearoa to New Zealanders since it branched away from its international focus just over a year ago.

Tourist trekking on Rangitoto volcanic island in Auckland, New Zealand.

Photo: 123rf

Plans to extend its marketing role were mooted in late 2019, but they were forced to become a reality when the stream of international visitors was cut off due to the pandemic.

TNZ's most notable campaign launched in May last year, urging people to Do Something New, New Zealand.

TNZ domestic general manager Bjoern Spreitzer said it was one of the biggest campaigns TNZ had ever run.

"It's as big as what we would deploy into one of our biggest markets like Australia."

There have been eight other domestic campaigns since then.

Research out of TNZ shows New Zealanders have spent an extra $1.1 billion on domestic travel compared to pre-Covid levels, reaching $8.37b.

He said TNZ and tourism operators as a collective did not really understand what New Zealanders wanted for a holiday before.

"New Zealanders are the highest quality visitors New Zealand can attract," Spreitzer said.

"We travel year round in New Zealand, we go everywhere in New Zealand, every region gets visitors from New Zealand and we really love what we're doing as well, so when Kiwis travel in New Zealand over 90 percent rate the experience as excellent or very good so it's the perfect product and, for us as a country, I think it's the perfect visitor in the future."

Domestic visitors have always been the foundation of the country's tourism, worth roughly $23b to the economy pre-Covid-19.

But Spreitzer said it was a different experience marketing to locals.

More than 60 percent of New Zealanders have done a new tourism activity or visited somewhere new this year with 72 percent of New Zealanders reporting they are aware of TNZ's main domestic campaign.

The research suggests that domestic visitors travel off-peak more often with 72 percent of domestic spend outside of peak season (summer) in comparison to 69 percent of international spend.

Spreitzer said it was encouraging more domestic travel in the off-peak season and in the regions that TNZ planned to target more as part of future campaign work.

Part of that would include looking at active recharging in the wake of the pandemic and also ensuring that winter travel wasn't only synonymous with skiing, he said.

"We think in the future there will be a particular opportunity for us as a country, for us as a business to really grow between April and October. That sort of the future thinking for domestic but that might be a few years away until we know what is happening with border openings," Spreitzer said.

The research showed that 66 percent of New Zealand's plan to take domestic holiday in the next 12 months.

"Which is an amazingly high number given that we can now also see the borders will open eventually again, that number is still so high which gives me confidence that New Zealanders will continue to explore New Zealand."

Their insights have shown TNZ that the domestic traveller was a market like no other and it required its own targeted campaigns as international marketing did not transfer to the experiences New Zealanders want to have in their own backyard, he said.

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