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Holiday park visitors spending large

A family enjoy time in their motor home at Hot Water Beach.

Visitors who stay at holiday parks across the country are spending large, with the latest research showing close to $1.2 billion annually can be attributed to domestic and international visitors who spend their nights at holiday parks.

Research by Angus & Associates was commissioned by Holiday Parks New Zealand to examine the expenditure of holiday park visitors across a range of regions and by a variety of visitor types.

The peak study season finds visitors spend an average of $144.59 per night while staying in holiday parks, with $127.71 attributed to domestic visitors and $168.68 to visitors from overseas.

The study also reveals domestic travel remains strong, with approximately $702 million (59%) of holiday park visitor expenditure is spent by domestic visitors. $484 million (41%) was spent by international visitors, and expenditure by international visitors contributes directly to New Zealand’s export earnings.

Holiday Parks New Zealand Chief Executive Fergus Brown says he is pleased the research shows 66 per cent of holiday park night guests are domestic visitors.

“It’s positive to see that New Zealanders still choose to stay in our holiday parks on their travels throughout the regions of New Zealand. It’s a Kiwi tradition, and our communities benefit so much from our holiday parks continuing to host visitors.”

An additional benefit of domestic visitors is they tend to stay longer in one place, and they are very likely to come back to the same destination year after year, says Fergus.

Visitor expenditure per person per day in 2018/2019 remained consistent with the 2016/2017 season, however when breaking down expenditure by visitor origin, the research shows domestic visitor expenditure per person per day increased by 12%, while international visitor expenditure per person per day fell 11%.

Angus & Associates’ research also examined what holiday park visitors were spending their money on. A quarter of their expenditure can be attributed to accommodation costs (around $301 million annually) followed by snacks/groceries and activity/admission fees.

The research also found interesting differences in the way that international and domestic visitors spend their money.

International visitors tend to spend significantly more on activities and attractions and transport, while domestic visitors spend slightly more on accommodation and goods, such as snacks and groceries. International visitors on average stay 22 nights a trip in holiday parks while travelling around New Zealand, double the domestic visitor average of 11 nights.

“This highlights the importance of international visitors to the economy with their higher average daily spend per person and longer travel period,” Fergus says.

The research also found holiday park visitors spend on a very wide range of items, meaning the economic benefit of a holiday park for its host community is well spread. For example, the 2018/2019 expenditure included gifts, clothing and footwear, books, model planes, a snoring guard and vacuum hire.

Fergus says while it is gratifying to see the huge value of the holiday park sector to New Zealand’s economy, he’s most proud of the economic contribution each park makes to the community and region it operates in.

“Holiday parks directly benefit their community because they employ locals, purchase supplies from local vendors, spend money on services like facility maintenance, and marketing,” says Fergus.

“Holiday parks also indirectly contribute to the region. For example, the dairy that employs an extra person over summer to cope with the business generated by holiday parks, or the boating store that places additional radio advertising to attract purchases from holiday park visitors. Holiday parks share the profits and are valuable community hubs.”

High value visitors to holiday parks include those staying in campervans or motorhomes, with campervan travellers spending an average of $166.52 per person per day while staying at holiday parks. This is over $20 more than the average of all visitors. Two thirds (69%) of international visitors to holiday parks during the period of the research were staying in a campervan.

In the context of other New Zealand sectors, the $1.2 billion direct economic contribution attributable to holiday park visitors is similar to that of the New Zealand racing industry ($1.2 billion in 2017) and greater than the cruise industry ($434 million in 2018).

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