Welcoming Australians back to Aotearoa could result in a billion-dollar boost to New Zealand’s economy. This is if a trans -Tasman bubble opens in the coming weeks.
That’s the latest forecasting from Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) ahead of Tuesday’s expected opening date announcement.
TNZ interim chief executive René de Monchy said it would be very welcome news after a tough year for tourism.
Before Covid-19, Australia was our biggest overseas market, making up about 40 percent of international visitors.
“And by our modeling, if Australia opens up in the coming weeks, it could be up to $1b and maybe even more that flows into our economy for the rest of this calendar year.”
“It is absolutely a big hope for the industry, and it allows them to plan for it,” de Monchy said.
On average, international visitors also spent two times more than domestic travelers and three times more per day than residents.
This strengthens the forecast regarding New Zealand’s economy.
“Without international visitors, there was likely to be a $12.9b gap each year in visitor spend,” he said.
TNZ has continued to promote New Zealand but is preparing a new campaign to showcase Aotearoa as a destination.
“We think visitors and tourism will probably take a little bit longer to restart.
“And probably as we get into the June-July holiday period and into the October holiday period, that’s when you’ll really see visiting start to ramp up.”
“This is why we’re conscious of that as we think about our marketing plans in Australia,” de Monchy said.
Surge of Australians Booking New Zealand Holiday Homes
New Zealand holiday homeowners are already reporting a surge in bookings from Australia. This is in the lead-up to the bubble date being announced.
This could result in businesses in New Zealand adapting to the new measures post-pandemic.
Bachcare figures show a 117 percent increase in speculative bookings over the month before the announcement.
Spokesperson Zaina Razzaq said it showed a marked interest in travelers researching and booking accommodation.
This is despite no confirmation on a quarantine-free travel bubble.
The figures showed beaches, food, and wine were high on the list of Australian travelers – where in previous years, the focus was on ski holidays, she said.
“What is coming through in our research this year is a surprising lack of bookings around New Zealand ski fields such as Queenstown and Ohakune,” Razzaq said.
“At this time of year, we would typically be seeing an influx of Australian’s booking their accommodation for a midwinter ski holiday.”
“Instead, the bookings are concentrated around beaches and vineyards; and feedback we are getting is that a lot of people want to spend time reconnecting with family members living in New Zealand – many of which have been unable to see for over a year now.”
The top 10 Australian booking locations are Raglan, Tauranga, Waiheke, Marlborough, Mount Maunganui, Marlborough Sounds, Martinborough, Akaroa, Whangamata, and Hanmer.
While Queenstown had fewer confirmed bookings than expected, Razzaq said it was the most popular search term.
This suggests that many were researching and preparing for when the bubble was confirmed.
“What we believe the data is showing us is that Australian’s looking to travel here for skiing in a specific seasonal time frame are waiting for confirmation of the bubble to open before they book.
“Conversely, travelers who are more flexible in their travel time frames.”
“They are making bookings in regions either well known for their wine production such as Waiheke, Marlborough, and Martinborough.”
“They are also book at coastal areas such as Raglan, Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Akaroa and Whangamata.”