The Domestic Tourism Working Group met again this week to further the development of a Domestic Travel Strategy.
The aim of this work is to ensure New Zealand’s tourism industry retains a strong focus on domestic travel and to ensure opportunities to boost its value are identified and grasped.
Spearheaded by TIA, the Working Group includes representatives from Tourism New Zealand, Regional Tourism Organisations NZ, the Automobile Association, Air New Zealand, the accommodation and transport sectors, Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.
TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says the importance of domestic tourism was clearly identified in the industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework.
“In 2014, domestic tourism was officially valued at $13.4 billion, greater than the value of international tourism. We want to see that number grow to $22.6 billion by 2025.
“Traditionally, no single body or agency has been responsible for domestic tourism and it can be seen as the ‘poorer cousin’ of international tourism,” explains Mr Roberts.
“TIA has therefore decided we need to take a leadership role because our best chance of achieving the Tourism 2025 goal is by working together as an industry to identify barriers to growth and find solutions.
“Increasing domestic travel will help the industry smooth out seasonal peaks and troughs and achieve regional dispersal goals – if Kiwis are given the right incentives and information, they will visit different regions at different times of the year.”
Mr Roberts says domestic travellers are the lifeblood of many accommodation businesses, while activity operators often ‘cut their teeth’ in the domestic market before expanding into the international market. Domestic tourism also offers huge potential for boosting regional development.
“The Working Group sees opportunities for New Zealanders to engage more in domestic travel. We have world-class tourism products and provide some outstanding experiences – we need to have that recognised and improve the way we tell our stories to a domestic audience.
“One of our first actions will be gaining a better understanding of the different types of domestic travellers – who they are, how many, and what their motivations to travel are. This will build on research undertaken in 2010.”
Mr Roberts says good, solid insight is at the heart of the industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework, which is aiming to almost double total annual revenue (domestic and international) to $41 billion over the next decade.
“If we can persuade more New Zealanders to use their discretionary dollars on a domestic travel experience, we will have more successful tourism businesses significantly contributing to the social and economic vitality of New Zealand.”