New Zealand Researches Domestic Tourism Market To Offset COVID-19 Impact On International Travel

29th Jan, 2021 | Tourism Mail Crew

NEW ZEALAND, Jan 29: New research into what Kiwis want from tourism and domestic holidays has been released to help the country's pillar industry adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on borders and international travel.

Research commissioned by Tourism New Zealand will help the industry better understand how to focus on domestic tourists until it is safe to open the borders again, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement on Friday. "The research found Kiwis are looking much more closely at their own backyard and at regions and attractions they may have taken for granted in the past," Nash said.

"Domestic tourists have different expectations from international travelers, although there is much common ground. Like international tourists, domestic travelers are attracted by our special qualities, like landscapes and friendly people, and our safe reputation," he said. "However domestic tourists are put off by activities that are too expensive, and the experience is spoiled if it feels too 'touristy'. Kiwis are more inclined to seek out local history and culture, hidden gems that are not well known, and personal connections," he added.

Domestic travelers want more unique experiences. The research shows an ideal regional holiday involves a personalized itinerary. It combines activities like walking, cycling, and food and beverage experiences; with events like a cultural performance, festival, or sports, said the minister.

Significantly, the research confirms Kiwis thought tourism was under pressure even before COVID closed the borders. They saw regions struggling with the sheer number of visitors, and problems with freedom camping and littering. The research suggests pressure on infrastructure and the environment had created a tipping point for tourism, Nash said.

Tourism operators also suggested some in the industry had focused too much on profits and neglected the quality of the experience and tourism's impact on small communities. Others had undervalued the role of Maori culture and needed to better connect with it. The government is investing heavily in both increased promotion of domestic tourism, and direct support to tourism businesses to help drive the economic recovery, Nash said.