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Tourism Electronic Card Transaction spend for November 2021 released

January 20, 2022

Key Points

Domestic TECT spend in the year-ended November 2021 was up 15% from 2020

Domestic tourism electronic card transaction (TECT) spend was up 15% in the year-ended November 2021 compared with the same period in the previous year. Domestic TECT spend was also up 10% on pre-COVID levels in the year-ended November 2019.

While domestic spend in the year-ended November 2021 increased from a year ago, monthly domestic spend decreased. For instance, monthly domestic TECT spend for November 2021 was down 16% on November 2020. The decrease can be attributed to highly restricted travel into and within Auckland during this time, Waikato remaining in Alert Level 3 until the later half of the month, and the Northland region (except for the Far North District) mostly remaining in Alert Level 2, which was briefly placed in Alert Level 3 at the start of November.

Spending in spring 2021 fell

Domestic spend in the 2021 spring season saw a 24% decline as compared to the previous year and a 13% decline compared with 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Spend in other passenger transport saw the largest fall in spring 2021 both as compared with spring 2020 and 2019. Retail sales formed the highest proportion of spend in spring 2021, as well as in the previous year and the pre-COVID year 2019 albeit the contraction in growth compared with spring 2020.

International spend remained low with ongoing border restrictions

As expected with the border closures, international spend remained low in 2021. International spend was down 55% on the November 2020 year (which included the 2019/20 summer season pre-border closure), and 73% down on 2019.

Food and beverage services drove growth domestic tourism card spend

Most sub-sectors saw an increase in domestic tourism card spend in the year-ended November 2021. Food and beverage services had the largest increase (up 20%) in domestic TECT spend in the year-ended November 2021 compared with the previous year. Retail sales and accommodation services saw a double-digit increase from the same period last year, up by 15% and 13% respectively (as shown in Table 1).

The table below shows that most sub-sectors within the tourism sector (except for accommodation services and other passenger transport) signal recovery in terms of growth in domestic spend compared with pre-COVID period levels in 2019.

Table 1: Percentage change in domestic tourism electronic card spend for the year to November 2021 compared to previous years, by product

Product Percentage change in domestic tourism electronic card spend for Year-ended November-2021
Year to November-2020 Year to November-2019
Food and beverage serving services 20% 11%
Retail sales 15% 14%
Other tourism products 13% 9%
Accommodation services 13% -1%
Cultural, Recreation and gambling services 6% 6%
Other passenger transport -1% -39%
Total 15% 10%

Source: Tourism Electronic Card Transactions, MBIE

Strong annual growth in domestic spend in all regions

Domestic TECT spend increased in all regions in the year-ended November 2021 compared with 2019 and 2020. As shown in Figure 1, the three North Island regions of Auckland, Waikato and Northland, saw the slowest growth in domestic tourism card expenditure in the year-ended November 2021, compared with the previous year (up 6%, 10% and 14% respectively). Wellington had a similar growth rate (14%) to Northland, and was among the regions that saw lower growth than the national growth rate (15%).

Figure 1 reflects the impact of higher alert level restrictions in these regions in the November 2021. Auckland was the only region with a decline (down 10%) on year-ended November 2019. South Island destinations showed the strongest increases in domestic spend compared to the year-ended November 2020. The top three regions in terms of growth in domestic spend from the year-ended November 2020 were Tasman, Marlborough and West Coast, up by 38%, 31% and 26% respectively.

Figure 1: Percentage change in domestic tourism electronic card spend for the year-ended and month of November 2021 compared to previous years, by region

Monthly domestic electronic card spend continued to contract

Monthly domestic TECTs continued to contract compared to a year ago. The impact of alert level restrictions was reflected in the decline of domestic TECT spend for most regions for November 2021, compared with the same month in 2019 and 2020 (as shown in Figure 1). Auckland showed the sharpest decline in domestic spend (down 46% from a year ago) in November 2021. As well as witnessing the strongest annual increase, Tasman stood at the top for monthly spend growth, showing a 6% increase from the month of November in the previous year.

We advise caution when using the TECT data

We recommend that users do not add domestic and international totals together. They should be used separately, because electronic card transactions (ECTs) in each market represent a different proportion of total tourism spend, meaning they cannot be directly compared. More information can be found here.

The Sustainable Tourism Explorer has been updated with the new TECT data

TECT data is now available in the STE in the form of interactive graphs. As well as visualising the data, you also have the ability to customise the graphs and can download them and the related data. Pivot tables are still available in the usual link to the TECT website.

The latest TECT data can be found in the Sustainable Tourism Explorer in the reliance on tourism section of the region area. Breakdowns include:

The next update

Our next stakeholder update highlighting December 2021 results will be in mid-February.