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30 Jan 2024

Warmer Weather Offers a Boost for New Zealand’s Tourism Industry

The warmer summer weather is forecasted to bring a much-needed boost to New Zealand’s tourism industry, as an ‘influx of international visitors’ is recorded among tourism operators.

Despite reports of slow tourist visa processing times, the industry has kicked off to a strong start this summer. New Zealand’s warmer months are undoubtedly one of the industry's busiest times of the year, and operators are welcoming travellers in full force.

Before COVID-19, tourism was the nation’s largest export industry, delivering around $40.9 billion to the country and contributing 8.4% to the country’s employment. Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive Steve Armitage claims that many tourists are out and about thanks to the promising weather, and the nation should be happy about the summer's tourism numbers.

"The most noticeable and obvious boost this holiday season has been the influx of international visitors,"

"We've got airline connectivity back at good capacity and cruise ships coming in on a regular basis too, so we're seeing good numbers of visitors getting out to soak up the sunshine and to spend in our communities, which is fantastic."

Armitage states that Queenstown, Rotorua, and Auckland, the usual tourism frontrunners, are all recording positive tourism numbers. Even regions that have been hard hit by weather turbulence are doing well.

"Really pleasingly, those regions that have been most severely impacted by weather events in recent times are seeing good volumes and increased spend,"

"The likes of Coromandel, Northland and Tai Rāwhiti are really appreciating the fact that, by and large, roads are back open and people are able to get in and around their particular regions with relative ease," he said.

Although accommodation providers have recorded a slight drop in domestic spending, it has been mitigated by strong overseas demand, with several businesses receiving last-minute bookings and multi-night stays. The coming months also look promising as providers claim bookings have increased by 40% YoY.

According to Abba Kahu, the sales and innovation manager at Whale Watch Kaikōura, the number of visitors this season has so far ‘exceeded expectations.’

"The numbers that are passing through at the moment have exceeded our expectations. We were almost heavily under-prepared for the numbers last summer, so we've geared up and made sure that we've got all hands on deck for this summer,"

According to Kahu, the increase in tourists has helped the town’s social and community scene thrive.

"We are just loving how vibrant our community has been over the last two or three months, and it's fantastic just to see so many tourists around and our boats busy."

Many tourism businesses are still struggling with costs 

Despite the positive numbers, many tourism operations still grapple with high business costs. The industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and some operators ‘might no longer make it’ through summer.

"I'm not kidding myself that once we get through summer, some of those establishments that are still struggling to make ends meet may no longer make it. We saw some high-profile closures last year. I expect there may be a few more this year,” Armitage said.

Despite this, Armitage remains optimistic about the industry as a whole.

"But we're at the point where things are starting to bottom out, and I feel like we'll start to see strong resurgence in the sector."

According to Selena Anderson, Ahipara Horse Treks manager, business was steady before Christmas, albeit with a few weather setbacks.

"When the weather's good, then it's good. So that peak time after New Year's and between people going back to work has been super busy … But we did have a few days of rain, so obviously it's quieter because it depends on the weather," she said

"It's busier than it was last summer. Last summer we had so many cancellations because of the weather. But it's probably not as busy as what it was prior to that, so the summer before … Even though it was Covid, we had a super busy summer with families travelling through."

Anderson hopes to see an uplift before the end of the school holidays.

What tourism businesses can expect in the months ahead.

Hospitality New Zealand aims to launch a 10-year industry strategy in early March to revitalise and encourage more talent in the sector. Tourism operators can expect to see more uplift this year, with a possible clearer pathway ahead from the government, but mitigating business risk is still essential.

Tourism operators should be prepared for any scenario and take steps to secure their assets. Bonded NZ helps business owners remain efficient in economic uncertainties through comprehensive and tailored business insurance. Whether it's public liability or professional indemnity insurance, our cost-effective options help them secure their business at every angle. 

For more information about our services, contact our team today.

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