Market Overview

Japan is New Zealand's fifth-largest tourism market and is a large, attractive market for New Zealand to pursue, both due to its current value and its future potential. Japanese visitors are valuable from a 'total lifetime' perspective with visitors, on average, returning to New Zealand 2.7 times after their first trip.

For around a decade visitor arrivals to New Zealand were in decline, reducing 60 per cent between 2002 and 2011. This was largely the result of the slowing Japanese economy and a number of one-off events/natural disasters. Since 2012, however, the market has been showing good signs of recovery. 
The mix of age groups travelling from Japan is changing, with an increasing number of outbound tourists being younger in age (20-29 year olds are now the largest outbound segment). Historically, New Zealand has focussed on appealing to the older Japanese traveller; however, this has resulted in New Zealand's positioning, appeal and preference being lower for the younger segment.

Tourism New Zealand, with key partners, has initiated a strategy to target the younger audience.  This is being done by employing different messages and media selection, through different product offerings and by utilising different channels.

The strategy also continues to target the older visitor segment due to the value they deliver New Zealand, and the potential from a large about-to-retire baby-boomer demographic.

Early results from the new strategic approach to dual target audiences are promising, with arrivals returning to growth. 

Key Statistics

International Visitor Arrivals February 2015

Year End Total 81,712 10%
Year End (Holiday) 52,480 11.6%
Month End Total 9,488 0.2%
Month End (Holiday) 6,288 4.2%
Total Stay Days* 1,356,240
Total Stay Days (Holiday)* 574,784
Average Length of Stay* 16.6 days
Average Length of Stay (Holiday)* 11 days

International Visitor Survey - YE December 2014

Average Expenditure per Visit NZD2,700
Total Expenditure per Annum NZD202m

Market Trends

Japan is the new "comeback kid" thanks to good growth, which started to be seen in 2012 for the first time in over a decade.  This growth looks certain to continue...