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New research into domestic Kiwi tourists

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New research into what Kiwis want from tourism and domestic holidays has been released to help the industry adjust to the impact of COVID19 on borders and international travel.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash says research commissioned by Crown entity Tourism New Zealand will help the industry better understand how to focus on domestic tourists until it is safe to open our borders again.

“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.

“Domestic tourists have different expectations from international travellers, although there is much common ground. Like international tourists, domestic travellers are attracted by our special qualities, like landscapes and friendly people, and our safe reputation.

“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 says.

The research shows an ideal regional holiday involves a personalised itinerary.

It combines activities like walking, cycling, and food and beverage experiences; with events like a cultural performance, festival, or sports.

He says there is also work to be done to champion the unique tourism experiences of local destinations.

“For example, researchers suggest an area like Rotorua, with its health spas, could be a ‘fly and flop’ destination to rival holidays that Kiwis used to take in Bali or Fiji.

“Significantly, the research confirms Kiwis thought tourism was under pressure even before COVID closed our 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.

“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 Māori culture and needed to better connect with it.”

Nash says the research analyses the tourism stories from each region and will be a valuable guide for tourism operators to rethink the way their wider region works together to attract domestic tourists.

“Work to support and rebuild the tourism and hospitality sectors remains ongoing.”

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 says.

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