New Zealand

Local tourism: New Zealand tourists travelling at home

Border restrictions are forcing travellers to support local tourism businesses.

With international border closures and pandemic-related restrictions taking international travel off the table, more New Zealanders are discovering local destinations. 

Local tourism is getting a much-needed boost as travellers adapt their plans to explore New Zealand, supporting the country’s hard-hit tourism and hospitality industry. 

Some New Zealand tourism providers are noticing an upswing in business, with Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) research revealing that over 60 percent of New Zealanders have visited a new onshore destination within the past year.

In fact, from May 2020 to March 2021, New Zealand travellers spent $1.1 billion more on domestic travel than they did pre-COVID. 

The local tourism trend is supported by a number of initiatives led by the New Zealand government and industry bodies aiming to promote industry recovery. Recently, TNZ has launched multiple local tourism campaigns.

Our activity, alongside the regional tourism organisations and industry, is having solid results,” said Bjoern Spreitzer, TNZ general manager domestic. “Kiwis are doing something new. Our research shows that more than half of New Zealanders have done a new tourism activity or visited a new place this year.”

Local travellers are an important part of supporting New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality sector as businesses fight to recover losses resulting from border closures and travel cancellations.

There’s some evidence to suggest that shifts in perspective could make domestic travel more popular even when overseas trips are possible again, with tourists keen to support local tourism businesses and explore their own backyards. 

“It definitely made us rethink whether we need to head overseas every time we travel when we have such beauty within easy reach,” said Nikki Horne, an Auckland woman whose family took the pandemic as an opportunity to travel at home. 

Chris Roberts, chief executive of Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) shared a similar sentiment, saying: “People have realised what fantastic opportunities we have in our own backyard, and we expect this will continue to result in more interest in enjoying domestic holidays, even after our borders reopen.”

For New Zealand tourism and hospitality operators, the future is looking bright, and local tourism is set to remain a driving force in industry recovery. 

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Shannon Jade

Shannon Jade is an author, editor, marketer, and journalist. Her work has appeared in many online and print publications both in Australia and internationally. Stay up to date with Shannon's writing by subscribing to Accom News.

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