NZ domestic tourism update

Domestic tourism in New Zealand is already showing early signs of bouncing back and contributing to economic recovery, new data today released by Airbnb shows.

With domestic travel resuming, Kiwis are booking and planning holidays within Aotearoa and getting ready to immerse themselves in their own backyard like never before. New data shows that there has been a surge in domestic bookings on Airbnb in the past seven days (9-16 May):

  • Domestic bookings on Airbnb increased 15 times compared with the same week last month.
  • Domestic bookings on Airbnb have recovered to 85 per cent of pre-Covid levels (compared with the same week in 2019).

Many popular regional domestic tourism destinations including Queenstown, Taupo and Northland are recording more domestic bookings than in the same week in 2019. Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington are all also showing strong month-on-month increases, up over seven times on the same week in 2019. The anticipated guest arrivals are expected to inject much-needed tourism dollars into local communities across these regions, helping them get back on their feet.

Kiwis are also choosing to stay closer to home, with more than 55 per cent of trips booked within 320km of where people live, including 16 per cent which are within 80km. 

The data also indicates healthy future demand for domestic travel with more than 790,000 total searches in New Zealand last week alone, up over 70 per cent since Level 2 restrictions were introduced. The top trending destinations by search are Auckland, Queenstown, Northland, Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch. 

Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, said: “The return of domestic travel is a welcome relief for the local families and communities who depend on New Zealand’s tourism industry. Already, we’re seeing very encouraging early signs of domestic tourism getting ready to bounce back and make a big contribution to economic recovery. 

“This has been an extremely challenging time for everyone across the tourism industry and we’re really keen to help local tourism operators and small businesses get back on their feet. We know that’s also true for guests, who genuinely want to do their part to support communities big and small who have had a tough time recently. 

“It’s great to see that Kiwis are wanting to get out there to support their local tourism industry as soon as they can.

“It remains crucially important that everyone continues to listen closely to government advice and strictly follows the rules. To date, the overwhelming majority of our community has been doing the right thing, for which we’re very grateful. 

“Just as it has driven economic growth in the past, domestic tourism will play an enormous role in driving economic recovery and both hosts and guests on Airbnb have already expressed a strong desire to support the important work being done by governments in this space.

“Safety and public health continue to be the top priority for Airbnb. We are keen to work with the Government to see how Airbnb can best play a role in helping communities across New Zealand recover.”