Data shows Kiwis supporting tourism sector recovery 

Tourism New Zealand today released scenario modelling on future tourism recovery which shows Kiwis travelling around New Zealand may spend up to 18% more over January than the year before.

If trans-Tasman borders were to open by a pragmatic estimate of January 2021, this could see Australian visitors grow the economy by $1 billion by September 2021, creating much needed employment for New Zealand. 

According to Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall, the modelling shows that while there are currently uncertainties that will dictate whether recovery takes one year or three, “If we have visibility of these variables, we can take action to influence them to have positive outcomes for the country's economic recovery, like the work we are doing to encourage domestic tourism.”  

The latest MBIE domestic spend data from across New Zealand shows that Kiwis are supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery by exploring New Zealand and doing something new. 

England-Hall adds, “Although August domestic visitor spend remained flat compared with last year, given Aucklanders were unable to travel for a large part of the month it is actually is an incredibly encouraging result.” 

“Domestic visitation in the July school holiday period grew across all regions, in some cases a whopping 20-50% compared to the previous year.”  

Pre-Covid, domestic tourism accounted for 60% of tourism’s $40.9 billion contribution to the New Zealand economy. New Zealanders previously spent $9 billion on overseas travel per year. 

England-Hall adds, “We’re working hard to encourage domestic tourism and capturing this spend will be critical to the sector’s recovery.”  

“It’s crucial that tourism also provides lasting benefits to our communities and enriches New Zealand. Every time someone heads into a new region, they don’t just visit tourist attractions. They shop at local retailers, book hotel rooms, eat at restaurants supporting employment and community growth.”  


  • In April, Tourism New Zealand was asked by the government to help kickstart domestic tourism to help the sector recover. 
  • Six months on, Tourism New Zealand’s Do Something New, New Zealand campaign has successfully driven demand to our tourism sector right across New Zealand. 
  • The campaign video has been viewed more than 16.2 million times


As a Crown Entity, Tourism New Zealand does not have ‘inside information’ or proprietary knowledge about assumptions such as when international borders will re-open. We are therefore publishing our internal modelling and making our assumptions transparent so that others can input and form their own view. 

During these uncertain times, Tourism New Zealand is ‘open sourcing’ its internal IP - as a transparent tool that others can leverage and customize based on new information and assumptions that may emerge over the coming months. 

A range of independent forecasts from other organisations is included below. 

8 April Westpac Economic Bulletin What Covid-19 means for New Zealand’s tourism sector 
13 April Treasury Report T202/973 Economic Scenarios 
6 May Westpac Economic Overview Revised Tourism Forecast 
6 May Reserve Bank of NZ Economic impacts of COVID-19 containment measures 
14 May Treasury Budget and Economic Fiscal Update BEFU 2020