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Northland most popular Kiwi summer holiday region

Media Release: 31 March 2014

Northland most popular Kiwi summer holiday region

Northland is New Zealand’s most popular domestic summer holiday region capturing about 12% of the overnight visitor market during December to February and more than 14% of the total visitor nights.

Fresh data from the latest AA Traveller Monitor, an ongoing monthly survey of AA Members focused on better understanding domestic overnight travel, reveals summer led to 1.5 million visitor nights in Northland where the reason was listed as holiday.

A little over half of the holiday-based visitor nights in Northland – 784,000 – were generated during January alone, mostly from Auckland. More than 80% of the overnight visitors to the Northland region during January started their journey in New Zealand’s biggest city.

Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula were in a close run race as the second and third holiday spot. Auckland claimed the most visits with 377,000 against the Coromandel Peninsula’s 353,000. However, the Coromandel Peninsula hosted more visitor nights with 1.066 million, which was 32,000 more than Auckland.

In the South Island, Canterbury, excluding Christchurch, was the busiest holiday spot with 329,500 visits resulting 693,700 visitor nights.

Nelson was next with 204,600 visitors in the three months to the end of February with 642,400 nights. On average, visitors stayed a day longer in the Nelson region compared with Canterbury.

The AA Traveller Monitor survey was developed in conjunction with The Fresh Information Company and has processed more than 25,000 survey responses since the first round in July last year.

In eight months of records, about 46% of people claim visits to friends and family as the purpose for their overnight travel compared with 34% stating holidays as the reason.

However, during summer 41% of visitors cited holidays as the reason for their overnight visits compared to 45% who were visiting friends and family. This boost to the holiday numbers swelled the number of domestic visitor nights during the three months to the end of February to 25.6 million – an increase of 57% on the previous three months.

AA Club Operations General Manager Peter Moxon says Christmas and the long summer days are when Kiwis traditionally travel to their favourite holiday spots.

“What these numbers show is that we have significant visitor capacity during the summer which is largely underutilised the rest of the year,” Mr Moxon says.

“What this provides for is an opportunity for both regional tourism organisations, tourism operators and other industry participants to work together in order to encourage more Kiwis to start travelling in the off-peak periods when there is plenty of capacity to accommodate them.”

Mr Moxon says finding new ways to encourage more Kiwis to explore their country more often flows into the Tourism Industry Association’s Tourism 2025 framework to boost total revenue to $41 billion in 2025 from $24 billion today.

During the three month summer period, the AA Traveller Monitor reveals domestic overnight visitors spent $2.68 billion which was nearly $500 million more than the previous three months.

The Fresh Information Company Managing Director Shane Vuletich says while domestic visitor activity increases substantially during the summer period, the boost to spending is a bit lower in percentage terms.

“This is because people change their behaviour when they’re on their summer holidays, especially those heading to beaches and holiday homes. There is more self-sufficiency among holiday makers during the summer period, and a general reduction in retail expenditure.

“This change in behaviour reduces average daily expenditure rates by around 25% relative to trips taken in winter and spring, although interesting the total amount of money spent per trip is around the same as the rest of the year,” Mr Vuletich says.

Ends

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