The Growing Tourism Market in New Zealand

30 October 2019 •  Market Information

If you’re the sort of person who likes variety and meeting new people every day, the tourism sector is a very attractive industry. The tourism industry in New Zealand is sky rocketing, with over 20 per cent growth over the years 2014 and 2015. The government and industry association is aiming to continue tourism’s place in the New Zealand economy, with a goal of $41 billion a year by 2025. With that support and the continued growth, tourism is a great place to build a business.

A Look at the Numbers

The numbers all demonstrate that tourism is a growth sector. The industry contributes $34 billion to the economy each year. There were 3.7 million international visitors in 2017 and each spent an average of $3,190 per trip. Of those visitors, the majority came from Australia, but there was growth in visitors from both the United States and the United Kingdom of over 10 per cent.

After the huge growth in 2014 and 2015, the industry is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent per annum over the next ten years. Just the growth in visitors, up 5 per cent in 2017, means there will be continued opportunities for new enterprises.

Government Investment

To support the growing industry, the government is spending on both marketing and infrastructure. The current strategy is to attract the right mix of visitors, ensure a high-quality experience and support regions.

The Tourism Infrastructure Fund provides up to $25 million each year to develop tourism-related infrastructure, particularly in areas where local infrastructure is put under strain by high tourism numbers. The government is particularly interested in ensuring all regions of New Zealand benefit from increased tourism numbers so businesses outside of Auckland can take advantage of this spending.

The government’s marketing is also aimed at attracting the right mix of visitors; concentrating on the growing markets in India and the USA. Businesses that can develop experiences and accommodations aimed at visitors from these regions may benefit from the marketing being done in those areas.

Business Opportunities

Tourism spending is not just on flights and accommodation; entertainment and attractions are also a large slice of the tourism pie. The government and the Tourism Industry Aotearoa are pushing for high-quality experiences for both domestic and international tourists and aspiring members of the tourism industry can build flourishing businesses providing these experiences.

The country uses the tagline “100% Pure New Zealand” in its advertising, concentrating on the magnificent scenery, outdoor activities and unspoiled environment. Businesses that tap into these experiences, such as hiking, kayaking and bungee jumping, have a good chance of attracting tourists.

But prospective businesses should look outside the box. Culinary tourism is a growing industry and New Zealand’s reputation for quality local food attracts visitors. Tourists are not only attracted to quality restaurants, but are interested in seeing where the food is grown and knowing how to cook local dishes.

Gardening tourism is another large industry that gels easily with New Zealand’s existing reputation. Research from the USA shows that over a third of travellers visit a garden during their trips. New Zealand’s beautiful gardens and landscapes attract passionate gardeners to the country and businesses that can attract that passion with gardening tours or experiences can build a successful business.

Then there is the Middle Earth Effect, which still impacts visitor numbers each year. Companies can build business that taps into the Lord of the Rings and other cultural experiences, whether in the retail, food or straight tourism sectors.

The New Zealand government is continuing to spend money on attracting tourists from new markets and for longer periods of time. They are also committed to investing in tourism infrastructure, especially outside of the most popular tourism regions, giving new businesses every opportunity to take advantage of the continued growth in the tourism sector.

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