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Surge in domestic travel and spending

Ministry of Economic Development

Media statement
Tuesday 20 March 2012

Surge in domestic travel and spending

The latest tourism data shows a surge in domestic travel and spending in 2011.

According to the latest Domestic Travel Survey by the Ministry of Economic Development, spending was up 14 percent, and the number of domestic trips increased by 13 percent in the year ending December 2011.

Peter Ellis, Tourism Research and Evaluation Manager at the Ministry, said: “The latest figures show a big surge in spending on domestic travel over the past year. Spending rose 14 percent to $9.8 billion. The number of trips taken by domestic travellers also increased, up 13 percent to 50 million.”

“The increase can be largely attributed to more people travelling to visit friends and relatives, or making business trips.”

Business travellers made a total of 14.1 million trips, a 31 percent increase from the previous year, while those traveling to visit friends and family made a total of 16.6 million trips, up 12 percent on the previous year.

While the average expenditure per trip showed little change, spending on transport showed the largest increase, up 17 percent to $3.4 billion, followed by food and beverages ($2.6 billion, up 13 percent).

In contrast to the increase in domestic trips reported in the survey, Statistics New Zealand’s Commercial Accommodation Monitor showed a 0.7 percent decrease of total guest nights in the same period. That decline was largely driven by a decrease in travellers staying in hotels.

The Domestic Travel Survey is an annual phone survey of 15,000 New Zealand residents and is undertaken throughout the year. The latest survey covers domestic travel trends for the year ending December 2011. The data is available on

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