Market Trends

The Australian market has been performing really well, with excellent growth in holiday arrivals and forward bookings continue to look extremely positive.

Western Australia has been a stand-out performer and all indicators are that this market will continue to grow considerably, helped by Qantas' Perth-Auckland and Air New Zealand's Perth-Christchurch routes. 

Special Interest is a big focus and a lot more activity is happening in the Business Events, Luxury, Youth and Cruise markets.

Official New Zealand Government forecasts are for Australian visitor arrivals to reach 1.64 million in 2018 (source: NZIER Tourism forecasts 2012-18). One of the quoted drivers from NZIER is the opportunity to leverage growing middle-class incomes in Australia.

New Zealand competes closely with the United States of America and Indonesia in the Australian market, as well as with domestic Australian destinations such as Queensland and Western Australia. The increase in competition for Australia travellers continues to intensify with the Australian outbound market growing at an average 5% p.a. New Zealand remains the number one outbound destination for Australians, but is being challenged to hold its market share in line with the outbound growth.

Tourism New Zealand runs a range of campaign activities in Australia year round, including television advertising, online marketing, and public relations. It also works closely with regional tourism organisations, airlines, operators, and travel sellers to promote New Zealand and develop the market.

Australians are confident researching and booking New Zealand holidays online (see our distribution channel research) and Tourism New Zealand campaign activity in this market makes the most of digital media channels.

New Zealand has the highest consideration and preference as a holiday destination in Australia. It is perceived to be a destination where you can explore and discover unique places and experiences. Combined with competitive trans-Tasman airfares and a favourable exchange rate, New Zealand is in a good position to maintain visitor numbers.

With Australia continuing to be New Zealand's most important market in terms of visitor numbers, Tourism New Zealand has responded by increasing its level of investment in Australia.

Market Activity

Tourism New Zealand's Australia activity has a primary objective of growing value through a focus on high value visitors. The aim is to drive more first time holiday visitors, improve seasonal arrivals and ultimately grow total holiday stay days.

Tourism New Zealand has refined its Active Considerer target market in Australia to focus on three segments: Young Adventurers aged 18-30, Independant Professionals aged 30-55 and Silver Surfers aged 55 plus. Its tactical work across campaign, trade and PR has been weighted against each segment.  Tourism New Zealand's communications strategy will be delivered in three main 'waves' of activity under the headlines of Touring, Special Interest (surfing, golf, walking and hiking) and Winter Action (ski). All communications will be structured to deliver relevant segment, season and special interest messaging. Tourism New Zealand will improve its online training of frontline travel trade and its personal training of wholesale and reservation trade partners in line with all three main 'waves' of activity.

New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria generate the largest numbers of New Zealand holiday arrivals, but Tourism New Zealand has placed extra resources to drive further growth in high value visitor arrivals from Western Australia. Over the last five years growth from Western Australian holiday arrivals has averaged 5 per cent and these tourists stay an average of 14 days in New Zealand. Extra airline capacity forecast for Perth to New Zealand in the year ahead will see Tourism New Zealand continue to increase its activity and investment in Western Australia across all three 'waves' of activity.  

Tourism New Zealand will also aim to increase value from the rapidly growing cruise sector out of Australia by supporting initiatives that grow cruise/coach and cruise/self-drive initiatives.


Key Indicators
Against a challenging global backdrop, the fundamentals of the Australian economy remain strong and the outlook remains positive. Economic activity is expected to grow at around three per cent over the next two years, consumer confidence is positive, the unemployment rate is forecast to remain low and inflation is expected to be well contained.

Australia's economic growth prospects are favourable, with real GDP forecast to grow 2.5 per cent in both 2014 and 2015, underpinned by growth in new business investment, non-rural commodity exports and household consumption.

Sources: (GDP Growth) (Exchange rates)

Exchange Rate vs NZD AUD1 = NZD1.0662 (March 2014)
Expected GDP Growth  +2.5% for 2014
 +2.5% for 2015

For more detailed information on the Australian economy read the economic analysis in New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's Australia country brief.

Outbound Travel

Total outbound departures are forecast to continue to record solid growth in future years. Driving the forecasts are the assumed solid consumer economy, sustained high value of the Australian dollar and continued expansion in aviation capacity to many key leisure outbound markets. In the longer term, the annual average growth for outbound resident departures is now expected to be 3.7 per cent with departures reaching 11.6 million by 2021/22 (source: Australia Tourism Forecasting Committee, TRA 2012 Issue 2).

According to Tourism New Zealand research, its target market in Australia is looking for a holiday destination where they can have fun, learn and experience new things, and feel relaxed, welcome, safe and comfortable.

Those aged over 40 are more likely to value feeling safe and welcome, and less likely to prioritise reducing stress and escaping everyday life; those under 40 are more likely to value personal challenge and getting an adrenalin rush.

Airline update

An alliance between Qantas and Emirates was approved by the New Zealand Government in May 2013. As a result there are two alliances that supply almost all trans-Tasman travel.

Qantas (QF), Emirates (EK) and Jetstar (JQ) make up around 37 per cent of the market and Air NZ/Virgin Australia represent around 60 per cent.

Cruise update

The cruise industry is resilient and Australia's outbound travel on cruise ships continues to grow. Mass market cruise is growing faster than other travel sectors, and according to market reports there is no foreseeable limit to industry growth. Australia has also surpassed North America as the main source of cruise passengers to New Zealand.

Almost 90 per cent of all Australia cruise passengers to New Zealand are not recorded as official International Visitor Arrivals (IVA). Cruise itineraries are primarily sold as sailing from Australia and returning to Australia. As passengers embark and disembark in Australia, they are seen as transit passengers in New Zealand. While passengers actually visit up to eight ports as the ships circumnavigate New Zealand, their visit is not counted as a holiday arrival unless they fly into, or out of, New Zealand.

The potential of the Australian outbound cruise market for the New Zealand tourism industry is significant, even though New Zealand at present only captures 13 per cent of Australia's cruise market. If Australia meets its target of 1 million outbound passengers per year by 2020, New Zealand's current market share would equate to 130,000 passengers.