Domestic Travel Survey methodology

The Domestic Travel Survey provided accurate, quarterly information on the number and type of trips, characteristics, behaviour and expenditure of domestic visitors.

Technical description

The purpose of this document is to provide details of the survey methodology for the Domestic Travel Survey.

Domestic Travel Survey: Technical Description [PDF, 528 KB]

Survey purpose

The survey was intended to:

  • measure the amount of expenditure by domestic visitors
  • determine the activities domestic visitors participated in, the transport and accommodation types used, and places visited
  • provide data for determining tourism expenditure in the Tourism Satellite Account
  • provide demographic information about domestic visitors and their reasons for travelling.

Survey type

The Domestic Travel Study was a sample survey of approximately 15,000 people aged 15 years and older per year.


The Domestic Travel Survey was a stratified random sample of households. Within each household an individual aged 15 years or older was randomly selected to participate in the survey.

Telephone interviewing was used for the Domestic Travel Survey — household telephone numbers were randomly selected from the white pages. Interviews were carried out according to pre-specified quotas for age, sex and region of origin.

Field work

The process of data collection for the Domestic Travel Survey took place continuously throughout the year. The Domestic Travel Survey interviews were conducted over the telephone using CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing). Information was collected for domestic overnight trips undertaken in the last 4 weeks and domestic day trips undertaken in the last week.


The sample was weighted to represent the usually resident New Zealand population aged 15 years and older. Post-stratification was used to adjust for known discrepancies between the sample and the population, and ensured that the weights sum to known population totals from Stats NZ population demography statistics.

The trip data was weighted to represent domestic day and overnight trips undertaken over a 12-month period.

Survey responsibility

From 1 July 2008 the Ministry of Economic Development (subsequently the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) assumed full responsibility for all processes of the Domestic Travel Survey, including analysis and dissemination of survey findings. Only the data collection was outsourced.

Survey history

The Domestic Travel Survey was conducted in New Zealand from 1983 to 1990, was discontinued during the period 1991 to 1998, and started again 1999.

Up to 1989/90 the Domestic Travel Survey measured overnight trips only. For 1999/2000 the former Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST) provided funding to develop a new domestic travel survey which included data on day trips (as well as overnight trips).

In 2001, the Office of Tourism and Sport secured government funding for ongoing collection of domestic travel statistics. The survey was conducted by Consumer Link Ltd, with data analysis by Gravitas Research and Strategy Ltd.

AC Nielsen was responsible for running the Domestic Travel Survey from September 2002 to June 2008. From July 2008 the former Ministry of Economic Development (subsequently the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) directly managed the Domestic Travel Survey and only the data collection was outsourced.