West Coasters spend up large on travel

Aucklanders travel throughout New Zealand the most, but their cousins in the West Coast are the biggest spenders according to recent AA Traveller research.

Residents on the West Coast spend almost $3000 every year on domestic travel, double that of Aucklanders who only spend about $1500 every year.

A possible reason for this comes out of the AA Traveller research which found that West Coasters spend the most nights away from home while travelling domestically, about 21 nights on average, beating the national average of approximately two-weeks.

AA General Manager Travel and Tourism Grant Lilly says another likely reason is because Aucklanders travel mostly to places within a few hours’ drive of the city, which keeps costs down, while travellers from the West Coast are more likely to drive longer distances or fly and ferry across the Cook Strait.

“More Aucklanders also have baches, or friends with baches, so many avoid accommodation charges,” he says.

The biggest beneficiaries of Auckland visitors as a share of their total visitors are Northland and Coromandel, while the lowest are regional Canterbury and Waitaki.

The AA Traveller Monitor looks into domestic overnight tourism in New Zealand, the largest component of New Zealand’s Tourism industry. The research is conducted in conjunction with tourism research specialists The Fresh Information Company.

“Domestic travel is the foundation on which the vast bulk of New Zealand’s tourism businesses are built and survive, providing their biggest volume of customers and balancing out the seasonal peaks and troughs in New Zealand’s international visitor flows,” Mr Lilly says.

“The AA Traveller Monitor includes comprehensive data split by region and provides valuable indicators about domestic travel patterns, which are useful for domestic tourism operators when it comes to how they promote their region and target the market.”

The research also shows that Auckland gets the biggest share of domestic travel trips, at approximately 5.3 million (almost 20% of all domestic trips) with the next biggest share going to Northland (approximately 7%) followed by Waikato at just more than 6%. Queenstown attracts about 2% of the national domestic visitor total.

While Queenstown makes up a small part of the total domestic travel market, the research shows that the largest proportion of local travellers to the resort town are Aucklanders who make up 27% of its 665,600 domestic visitors annually, ahead of visitors from Canterbury at 24%. If a holiday away from the crowd is preferred the report suggests travelling to Fiordland and Clutha, which both make up less than 1% of the domestic tourism market.

“Domestic travel and tourism is worth $13.8 billion in economic input to the New Zealand economy, which is around 30 percent larger than the value of our international visitors,” says Mr Lilly. “It’s an area of our tourism market that needs greater focus.”

AA Traveller Monitor by the numbers:

Domestic travel and tourism is worth $13.8 billion in economic input to the New Zealand economy, $36.7 million a day, which is around 30% larger than the value of our international visitors.

New Zealanders undertook an estimated 25.47 million domestic overnight trips in the year ended June 2014, an average of more than five trips per person.

The average duration of each trip was 2.71 nights.

Almost one third of all trips were for the purpose of a holiday, a break away, with 46.6% being to visit friends and family, and only 12.3% being for business.

The average spend per trip, across all purposes, was $326.00.

New Zealanders spent an average of almost $2000 per annum on domestic travel, which is more than three weeks income at the country’s median weekly income level in 2014 of $600.

Auckland gets the biggest share of domestic travel with 16.2% of all domestic travel trips followed by Northland (7.1%) and Waikato (6.6%).

Auckland provides Queenstown with 27.2% of its visitors.

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