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AA Traveller survey reveals Kiwi holiday crusades

Chasing summer’s sun – AA Traveller survey reveals Kiwi holiday crusades

Kiwis spent nearly $2 billion staying away from home in December and January making the most of the Christmas, summer and the beach.

Data gathered as part of the AA Traveller visitor night monitor conducted by The Fresh Information Company reveals both where Kiwis are travelling to in New Zealand, where they’re coming from and how much they spend while they’re away from home.

In December, the AA Traveller Monitor estimates 3.5 million domestic trips resulted in 8.3 million visitor nights – the busiest month since the survey began in July 2013.

However, December was eclipsed by January as more people headed away on domestic holidays around the country with nearly 4.2 million trips resulting in nearly 11.2 million visitor nights.

Of the nights spent away from home by New Zealanders, 3.2 million were recorded as holidays in December, increasing to 5.2 million in January.

As the number of trips and visitor nights increased, so did the spend – $903 million in December and more than $1 billion in January.

To put this in perspective, the spend by international visitors for all of 2013 was $6.7 billion – a little more than $500 million per month on average.

While the dollars were up, people spent less per night but had longer periods away from home.

The Fresh Information Company Managing Director Shane Vuletich says the lower spend per night is a reflection of how Kiwis behave during their summer holidays away from home.

“During our summer holidays we generally try hard to switch off from everyday life and tend to spend more of our time engaged in free leisure activities, like going to the beach,” he says.

“We know that more than 80% of domestic trips are by car, so there’s still strong spend on fuel and food is strong as well, but much less is spent on things like retail and business travel. This has the effect of reducing average spend per visitor night.”

AA Club Operations General Manager Peter Moxon says summer holidays also come at the end of a ‘perfect storm’ of activity.

“We’re busy trying to get all the work we need completed by the end of the year while also trying to find time to get to the shops ahead of Christmas with the rest of the crowds. It’s understandable people want to enjoy the outdoors relaxing on the beach while recovering from the Christmas season.”

The AA Traveller Monitor also reveals the most popular places for Kiwis to travel to with the Auckland region attracting 1.4 million people in January ahead of Northland with 1.3 million and the Coromandel Peninsula with 886,000.

“The strength of these regions isn’t surprising because of how reliant we are on cars for travel,” Mr Moxon says.

“We don’t want to spend days on the road and we already knew that people generally holiday within a three hour radius of where they live. More than a third of our population lives in Auckland which has the Coromandel Peninsula and all the offerings of Northland on its doorstep.”

In January, 60% of Northland’s visitor nights were because of Aucklanders. The Coromandel Peninsula’s story is similar with 56% of its visitor nights in January attributed to Aucklanders.

In the South Island, Canterbury (excluding Christchurch) was the busiest region in terms of visitor nights in December and January with 1.1 million and less than 700 behind the Waikato region.

Christchurch City and Nelson were also strong with nearly 900,000 visitor nights each for the same two months and still within the top 10 most popular areas compared with Queenstown with 426,000 visitor nights.


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