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Australian visitors keep New Zealand tourism bubbling despite global economy shake out

January 23, 2009
Australian visitors keep New Zealand tourism bubbling despite global economy shake out

A Tourism Ministry study released through Nigel Coventry Editor of the Inside Tourism travel industry website says Australia the biggest tourism market for both the North and South Islands keeps NZ tourism bubbling.

Australians make up (35 percent of all North Island visitors and 36 percent in the South Island).

Tourism New Zealand says arrivals from Australia rose 1.8 per cent in November, offsetting sharp declines in arrivals from most major Asian markets. Overall, arrivals from Europe held reasonably steady, down 2.4 per cent.

"The arrivals figures for November are very much in line with expectations and again show the importance of the Australian market in the current economic climate," Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said.

The Ministry study says after Australians the tourism visitor to the North Island numbers are-

UK (13 percent), US (eight percent), China (six percent), Japan(five percent), South Korea (four percent) and Germany(three percent) - a similar proportion to total New Zealandarrivals.

In the South Island the tourism visitor percentages are UK (16 percent), US (11 percent), Japan (six percent), Germany (four percent),South Korea (four percent) and Canada (two percent).

The Ministry points out that although China is New Zealand's fourth biggest market, it only accounts for one percent of international visitors to the South Island.

Seasonal influences are in play too although the North Island gets more people, more destinations are visited in the South Island per person.

On average, each South Island visitor takes 7.4 trip legswithin the South, as opposed to 4.6 trip legs within theNorth.

The North Islands share of guest nights increases in the winter months, where in June its share increased to 63 percent.

Alternatively, the South Islands share of guest nights increases in the summer months, where in February 2008 45 percent of all guest nights were spent in the South Island.

Maori dancers. Courtesy Tourism  Bay of Plenty
Maori dancers. Courtesy Tourism Bay of Plenty

Tourism in New Zealand's North Island is forecast to increase at a greater rate than the South Island between 2007 and 2014,according to the Tourism Ministry.

It says overnight visits are forecast to increase by an averageof 3.9 a year in the North Island (27.4 percent in total) andthree percent a year in the South Island (21 percent in total).

Day visits are forecast to increase by an average 3.8 percenta year in the North Island (26.6 percent in total) and 2.9 percent in the South Island (20.2 percent in total).

Total visits are forecast to increase by an average 3.9 percent a year in the North Island (27.2 percent in total)and three percent in the South Island (20.8 percent in total).

Visitor nights are expected to increase by an average 3.9 percent each year in the North Island (27.6 percent intotal) and three percent in the Mainland (20.8 percent intotal).

The Ministry says that of all the international visitorsto New Zealand aged 15 years or older, 1.81 million visited the North Island in the year to September 2007,compared with 1.01 million who went to the South island.

Courtesy Tourism Bay of Plenty
Courtesy Tourism Bay of Plenty

The larger number of North Island visitors is reflected by the majority of international travellers arriving and departing via Auckland International Airport.

When it comes to purpose of visit, the North Island received 4.2 times more business travellers, 3.2 times more VFR and 1.2 times more holidaymakers than the South Island.

This shows the prominence the North Island has for the Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) and business markets, with larger resident populations and main business centres, it said.

Guest nights for both Islands have been for the most part increasing since 2000.

In the years ended October 2001 to October 2008, the South Island experienced a higheraverage annual growth rate (4.1 percent) than the North Island (3.3 percent) compared to a national average of 3.6 percent over the same period.

Both Islands experience a distinct seasonality of guest nights. In 2008, the peak month of January saw the North Island have 2.56 million guest nights, while the South Island had 1.90 million. In the same year, June guest nights dropped to 1.08 million in the North Island and 0.63 million in the South Island.

City of Auckland. GoSeeNZ pic
City of Auckland. GoSeeNZ pic

When it comes to occupancy rates in the year ended October, the average New Zealand occupancy rate was 37.7 percent, down 0.3 of a percentage point on the previous year.

For the same period, commercial accommodation in the North Island had an average occupancy rate of 38.8 percent(down 0.3 point) and the South Island had an average of 36.2 percent (down 0.4 of a percentage point).

The Ministry notes that for the past four years, the average North Island occupancy has exceeded the South Islands, by about two percentage points.

Each island has seasonal patterns in occupancy, with highest occupancy in the summer months - with a peak in February - and lower occupancy in the winter months (lowest in June).

The South Island experiences greater variance in occupancy between these two times of year.

For the past two years, the only time of the year the South Islands average occupancy exceeds that of the North Island is in summer, where last February it was 1.8 percentage points greater.

A geyser blast off at  Rotorua GoSeeNZ pic -s
A geyser blast off at Rotorua GoSeeNZ pic -s

This indicates the prominence of tourism activity in the South Island in the summer season. In 2004, 2005 and 2006, the South Islands occupancy was higher than the North Islands for two months of the year - January and February.

There has been increased capacity in the accommodation sector in both Islands over the past four years, but more so in the South Island.

For the year ended October, total accommodation capacity (in terms of stay unit nights) in the South Island increased by 3.3 percent, whereas growth in the North Island was 1.9 percent.

Capacity over the past four years has increased for both islands, with the North Island increasing 13.9 percent between October 2004 and 2008, and the South Island 7.7 percent over the same period.

Editor's Note: GoSee acknowledges with thanks Inside Tourism and Bay of Plenty Tourism for their assistance with this Information Article.

Here are links and pictures to GoSee experiences in the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

Anglers paradise. Courtesy Destination Fiordland
Anglers paradise. Courtesy Destination Fiordland
A now for breakfast. GoSeeNZ pic
A now for breakfast. GoSeeNZ pic
A Te Puia wood carving student. GoSeeNZ pic
A Te Puia wood carving student. GoSeeNZ pic
An audience enjoys the  geyser show Rotorua. GoSeeAust pic
An audience enjoys the geyser show Rotorua. GoSeeAust pic
Big rigs attract all age groups
Big rigs attract all age groups
Buried Village  The carving is original  GoSeeNZ pic-s
Buried Village The carving is original GoSeeNZ pic-s
Cab-over comfort in our  NZ motorhome. GoSeeNZ pic
Cab-over comfort in our NZ motorhome. GoSeeNZ pic
Camper from KEA
Camper from KEA
Geyser terrace. GoSeeNZ pic
Geyser terrace. GoSeeNZ pic
Having fun Queensown to TeAnau
Having fun Queensown to TeAnau
Ichy Ft rego is what its all about
Ichy Ft rego is what its all about
kingston Explorer and Motorhome Sth-Queenstown
kingston Explorer and Motorhome Sth-Queenstown
Milford Sound cruising. Courtesy Destination Fiordland
Milford Sound cruising. Courtesy Destination Fiordland
Milford Sound. GoSeeNZ pic
Milford Sound. GoSeeNZ pic
Nice fish Jo Kidd  Rakaia River Holiday Park
Nice fish Jo Kidd Rakaia River Holiday Park
Pleasant wine. Pleasant time Neudorf. Courtesy Lattitude Nelson
Pleasant wine. Pleasant time Neudorf. Courtesy Lattitude Nelson
Te Puia war canoe  GoSeeNZ pic-s
Te Puia war canoe GoSeeNZ pic-s
Slipping Around carries a get-about scooter
Slipping Around carries a get-about scooter
Walkers are draw to fantastic ferns. Courtesy Latitude Nelson
Walkers are draw to fantastic ferns. Courtesy Latitude Nelson
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