Ngā manuhiri o te ao, o Aotearoa anō hoki — International and domestic visitors

To ensure the sustainability of the tourism sector, New Zealand-Aotearoa needs to develop and promote high-quality, authentic visitor experiences that draw on New Zealand-Aotearoa’s unique visitor proposition of our people and our place.

International visitors, domestic visitors and COVID-19

To ensure the sustainability of the tourism sector, Aotearoa New Zealand needs to develop and promote high-quality visitor experiences that draw on Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique visitor offerings of our (tangata) people and our (whenua) place. The Government’s tourism strategy highlighted the importance of both international and domestic visitors. Visitors, both Kiwis exploring their own backyard, as well as visitors from overseas, contribute significantly to our country.

International visitors bring money into the economy and showcase the New Zealand-Aotearoa brand to an international audience. However, COVID-19 encouraged a renewed focus on the domestic visitor market.

Domestic tourism was able to keep many businesses alive during the closure of the international borders and reminded New Zealanders about the importance of tourism to the economy, encouraging kiwis to explore and try new experiences. This reminder will continue to be valuable as we welcome international visitors back to New Zealand.

Tourism New Zealand Domestic Demand Review

The Government has decided that from 1 July 2023 Tourism New Zealand will return to its usual role of promoting New Zealand as a visitor destination to international visitors only, now that the New Zealand borders are open, and we are in post pandemic recovery mode. The Minister will retain the ability to reactivate the domestic marketing activity in the event of an extreme shock that has a significant impact nationally on our tourism sector, should the Government decide it necessary.

MBIE has completed the Domestic Demand Review into whether funding domestic tourism marketing is an appropriate ongoing function for Government in the medium to long term.

The review found that domestic marketing can have a positive influence on off-season travel, regionally dispersed travel, and other long-standing tourism challenges. However, concerns were raised as to whether central Government can justify investment in domestic marketing now borders have reopened and whether central Government should encourage spend in one domestic sector over another. Regional tourism organisations continue to market domestically as normal and have an important role to play in doing so.

The review was not assessing the performance of Tourism New Zealand in marketing domestically whilst the international borders were closed, but rather determining the benefits and challenges for central government marketing tourism to New Zealanders.

Tourism New Zealand’s work during the COVID-19 period

In 2020, Tourism New Zealand pivoted to domestic marketing as a response to the international border closures from COVID-19. The Government made this decision to support the industry in continuing to operate.

Tourism New Zealand undertook a range of activity aimed at encouraging domestic visitation during the pandemic, including the 'Do Something New, New Zealand' campaign.

Do Something New, New Zealand ft. Madeline Sami and Jackie van Beek(external link) — YouTube

Tourism New Zealand also continued to keep the 100% Pure New Zealand brand alive in the hearts and minds of our international visitors and have now resumed international marketing activity to encourage booking and travel to New Zealand. You can explore their work on their website.

Tourism New Zealand(external link)

Research Reports on Domestic Tourism

Prior to COVID-19, MBIE commissioned 2 research pieces on domestic tourism trends to inform future decision-making. Read these at the links below:

Last updated: 15 May 2023