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Domestic visitor nights dip as winter bites

Domestic visitor nights dip as winter bites

Domestic travel slowed in May with visitor nights dipping 27% to 4.9 million against 6.8 million during April.

During April, Kiwis took advantage of school holidays combined with the public holidays around Easter and Anzac Day to maximise the Indian summer experienced across most of the country.

Domestic visitor nights in May were similar to those in March, but well down on the summer peak in January of 11.1 million visitor nights.

New data from the latest AA Traveller Monitor, an ongoing monthly survey of AA Members focused on better understanding domestic overnight travel, shows there have been nearly 70 million visitor nights in the 11 months to the end of May generated by more than 32 million domestic trips.

AA Club Operations General Manager Peter Moxon says there is a traditional slowdown in domestic tourism during winter in most areas.

“While some regions like Queenstown, Wanaka and the central North Island enjoy a winter and spring visitor boom most regions slow down a bit and are far from capacity,” Mr Moxon says.

“This provides a real opportunity to find new ways of enticing Kiwi travellers to travel within New Zealand during the colder winter months, rather than travelling overseas.”

The AA Traveller Monitor survey was developed in conjunction with The Fresh Information Company and has processed nearly 35,000 survey responses since the first round in July last year.

The Fresh Information Company General Manager Shane Vuletich says school holidays are coming up in July which is expected to generate a boost in visitor nights, despite cold and sometimes inclement weather.

“Kiwis tend to hunker down when it gets cold and rainy and domestic travel flat lines for a few months, while international travel swells.

“But if operators, either by themselves or in groups, could give Kiwis more reasons to travel domestically during the winter months, this could have a significant impact on profitability while also showing them that New Zealand is a great place to travel year round.

Mr Moxon says towns and attractions within a three hour drive from major centres which have plenty of capacity during this time of year would benefit most with a fresh look at marketing themselves.

“Nearly 90% of all domestic travel is by car, so if operators are looking for a market to target, it should be one within an easy half day drive.”

The AA Traveller Monitor survey reveals domestic travellers spent about $634 million in May down from $794 million April. However, the average spend for each night spent away from home was up nearly 9% to $128 in May from $117 in April.


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