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Ten things we learned from the 2016 Tourism Summit Aotearoa

10 November 2016

Even as the US elections was silently riveting most of the participants (who glanced furtively at their phones showing the progress of red and blue electoral college votes) and summit host Simon Dallow giving everyone updates during breaks, New Zealand tourism is humming nicely along with every indicator up. Would the uncertainty in America (usually the factor that precipitates effects in global travel) affect our aspiration for a $41 billion revenue in 2025? No one really knows.

And when a projected Hillary Clinton victory was suddenly and shockingly upended by unexpected voting patterns after lunch, it probably weighed on the minds of the nearly 250 business and government leaders attending the summit that there is no such thing as a sure shot.

Not in politics and certainly not in tourism where the dollars are brought in by people whose capacity to travel is dependent on a whole lot of other factors, foremost among them, domestic issues.

But the advantage of a small country with a very global and very distinctive tourism pitch is that it fully knows its brand and the workings of the infrastructure that support it. The TIA's formulation of a Tourism score-card provides a snapshot of the industry's current state and benchmarks either progress or regression.

Yes, there is no certainty, but if there is reliable data and an unbiased, strategic way of looking at it, then there's hope.

Here are ten things we took away from the summit. 

  1. The total tourism revenue for 2016 was $34.7 billion. Our question is, how much of that was from motorhome tourism?
  2. Domestic tourism continues to be an important component of tourism growth. Yup, love your own country!
  3. One of the challenges facing domestic tourism is breaking out of the stricture of seasonality. That’s why we have initiatives such as the Off-Season Discount Deal which gives an incentive to those traveling in the off-season to be on the road longer.
  4. According to the TIA-led Domestic Tourism Working Group which commissioned research into understanding the motivations and segments of the domestic leisure market, some 27million day trips were done in the last 12 months. 
  5. Overnight trips (counting one night and more) were about 17 million in the last 12 months. As a motorhomer, how long are you on the road for a given year? 
  6. For shorter breaks, the most popular places are Auckland, the Coromandel, Taupo and Wellington. 
  7. For longer breaks, the most popular places are Hawkes Bay, Canterbury, Queenstown and Southland. 
  8. 72% of Kiwis use Google to find domestic destinations. 
  9. Providing freedom camping facilities continues to be an enduring challenge faced by tourism infrastructure capacity.
  10. The term ‘high-value tourist’ was bandied about a lot. As a motorhomer, do you consider yourself as such or not and why? Tell us your answers via the comments! 

We live-tweeted from the event. Follow us on Twitter. 

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