Domestic tourism does much to counter border closure

Domestic tourism has been significantly boosted in the South even as the effects of border closures continue.

The latest Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment tourism spending figures show $238million was spent in Otago in August compared with $377million in August 2019.

In Southland spending did not change, totalling $37million in both months.

While domestic tourism spending was down across much of the North Island, in the South it was a different story.

In the 12 months from August 2019, domestic tourism spending was up 37% in Otago, 29% in Southland and 41% on the West Coast.

In every region, international tourism was still significantly down from August 2019.

Otago was hardest hit, dropping 92%, followed by the West Coast (down 89%) and Auckland (down 75%).

According to Destination Queenstown, the resort experienced a boost in July due to school holidays before spending dropped again in August.

The August spend was down 44% in total compared with August 2019, but it was cushioned slightly by the increased domestic spend.

Destination Queenstown interim chief executive Ann Lockhart it was positive to see domestic spending was still up given Auckland’s recent lockdown.

"We are optimistic that the September school holidays will give our businesses a much-needed boost.

"Looking further ahead, the summer months, with all of the outdoor experiences on offer, will continue to attract travellers from around the country.”

Enterprise Dunedin city marketing manager Malcolm Anderson said they were relatively happy with the spend, given the Covid-19 situation.

New Zealanders had responded well to both Dunedin’s and Tourism New Zealand’s marketing campaigns, he said.

"We expect to see a dip in August spend in the city which will correlate to the change in alert levels in August.

"We believe there will be a bounce back in spend in September now that alert levels have changed, and with our September school holiday marketing campaign."

Nationally, the period between November and December was an unknown in terms of future domestic visitor spend, he said.

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