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Stephen England-Hall: Targeting high-value visitors

Attracting high value visitors is a key but challenging component of Tourism New Zealand’s work.  How do we, from the 140 million people currently considering New Zealand as a holiday destination, attract those who will add the greatest value to New Zealand.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen England-Hall

It requires a targeted and strategic approach across a range of markets and audiences, and the good news is it’s working. We’re seeing the average daily spend for holiday visitors continue to grow. Now at $254, this is up 17 percent since 2013. By comparison, Australia as our biggest competitor has daily spend of AUD$199 which, depending on the exchange rate of the day, is around NZ$217.

This means every day a visitor is in New Zealand, they’re spending more money on meals, accommodation, experiences and shopping – benefitting not only the tourism industry but wider New Zealand.

For New Zealanders, this has positive effects on employment. Research shows that around one in seven New Zealanders are now directly or indirectly employed by tourism – and I don’t see this slowing anytime soon.

Tourism is a growth sector. By 2024 visitor numbers are expected to reach 5.1 million per year. With this comes an estimated $4.6 billion of additional spending through the tills of our hotels, cafés, shops and attractions each year from 2024. Perhaps more importantly, this growth presents a unique opportunity to enrich New Zealand – socially, environmentally as well as economically.

Tourism New Zealand uses sophisticated targeting to ensure the visitors we attract contribute to New Zealand in the best way possible. In fact, a visitor who chooses New Zealand as a direct result of Tourism NZ’s marketing will spend more, year-round and in more regions. Through our marketing expertise, we influence seasonal productivity by promoting New Zealand as an autumn, winter and spring destination. We also influence regional travel by showcasing some of our regional gems and high-quality itineraries, alongside more established icons. This helps to spread the benefits of high-value visitors throughout the year right across New Zealand.

The latest International Visitor Survey shows this is largely working. Total holiday spending is up, as are arrivals outside the peak season and spend in our regions is also up by $373 million over the past year.

Our marketing is an important lever but cannot solve the challenges of our sector in isolation of good supply side strategy. That’s why it’s fantastic to see the industry, government and commercial sector working together on a range of initiatives to ensure the visitor economy enriches New Zealand.

Of note, the Tourism Infrastructure Fund and Provincial Growth Fund are investing billions of dollars into product and infrastructure development. This funding is helping put in place the facilities, tourism operations, conservation efforts and employment that the country needs to support a sustainable visitor economy that continues to enrich New Zealand and New Zealanders.

Stephen England-Hall
Chief Executive
Tourism New Zealand