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Tourism Recovery Insights data pack - 16 August

August 16, 2022

The Tourism Recovery Insights data pack provides commentary on the latest real-time data on the border and visitors.

Data Purpose Source Updated Slide
Daily border crossings Based solely on border crossings into and out of New Zealand, these data do not incorporate arrival card information so no breakdown of traveller type StatsNZ 9 Aug 2022 1. Majority of border arrivals were to Auckland, Queenstown closest to 2019 levels
Weekly visitor arrivals Short-term overseas visitor data from arrival card information StatsNZ 24 July 2022 2. Overseas visitor arrivals to Queenstown over double those to Christchurch, due to ski season
3. Number of holiday visitors similar to VFR
Operating airline capacity data Estimated operating airline capacity for the year of 2022 from Sabre, indicating the capacity airlines intend to make available. Sabre Market Intelligence Forecasts to Jan-2023 4. Operating airline capacity estimated to be back around 3/4 of 2019 levels by end of year
Consumer spend data Uses electronic card data as indicator of change in expenditure patterns in the economy MBIE 7 Aug 2022 5. International electronic card transaction (ECT) spend still down 27% despite high inflation
Working holiday scheme visa information Data on visa applications to Immigration NZ since the start of Reconnecting New Zealand on 14 March 2022. For tourism, we report on Working Holiday Scheme applications and arrivals to understand migrant labour available to the sector. Immigration NZ 11 Aug 2022 6. There were 3,804 Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) visa arrivals since reopening in March
Migrant Population Data Data on visa holders currently residing in Aotearoa New Zealand. For tourism, we are reporting Working Holiday Scheme visa holders to understand migrant labour available to the sector. MBIE 31 July 2022 7. Working Holiday Scheme visa holders in NZ down 82% in July 2022 compared with 2019
Accommodation Data Programme Measure monthly activity in commercial accommodation. MBIE June 2022 8. International guest nights continue to recover


Majority of border arrivals were to Auckland, Queenstown closest to 2019 levels

Overall border arrivals to NZ totalled 70,400 in the week-ended 9 August, down 44% on the same week in 2019. Of these, 33,100 were non-NZers.

The majority of these border arrivals were to Auckland (49,600).

Queenstown is performing closest to 2019 levels, down only 24% when compared to the same week in 2019.

Border arrivals Total, week-ended 9 Aug 2022 Change vs same week in 2019
Auckland 49,600 -46%
Christchurch 8,500 -42%
Queenstown 7,800 -24%
Wellington 4,500 -48%

Overseas visitor arrivals to Queenstown over double those to Christchurch, due to ski season

In the week-ended 24 July, there were 23,800 overseas visitor arrivals, down 57% on the same week in 2019.

Overseas visitor arrivals to NZ fell from a couple of weeks before. This was due to the end of Australian school holidays.

The majority of these border arrivals were to Auckland (13,600). Arrivals to Queenstown were over double those to Christchurch, showing the impact of the ski season.

Visitor arrivals Total, week-ended 24 Jul 2022 Change vs same week in 2019
Auckland 13,600 -64%
Christchurch 2,800 -55%
Queenstown 6,000 -30%
Wellington 1,500 -53%

Number of holiday visitors similar to VFR

International visitor arrivals to NZ for a holiday totalled 8,900 in the week-ended 24 July.

This figure was just higher than the 8,800 that arrived to visit friends and relatives, the first time this has happened this year.

Again, overseas visitor arrivals to NZ fell from a couple of weeks before due to the end of Australian school holidays.

Visitor arrivals Total, week-ended 24 Jul 2022 Change vs same week in 2019
Holiday/vacation 8,900 -65%
Visit friends/relatives 8,800 -39%
Business 3,200 -61%

Operating airline capacity estimated to be back around 3/4 of 2019 levels by end of year

Estimated operating airline capacity in August and September remains similar to July levels.

By the end of the year, operating airline capacity is estimated to grow to around 72% of 2019 levels (down 28%). These estimates are subject to change.

Airline capacity Change vs same month in 2019
Australia North America Total
August 2022 -41% -48% -46%
September 2022 -39% -41% -44%
October 2022 -37% -30% -41%
November 2022 -22% -4% -26%
December 2022 -22% -7% -28%
January 2023 -24% -7% -28%

International electronic card transaction (ECT) spend still down 27% despite high inflation

International ECT spend in NZ in the week-ended 7 Aug was down 27% compared with the same week in 2019.

The industries 'food and liquor' (up 2%) and 'fuel and automotive' (down 11%) are closest to 2019 levels. This is likely due to factors such as inflation and the makeup of arrivals e.g., a lot here for visiting friends and family.

US and UK ECT spend has been hovering around the same levels in 2019, with Australian ECT spend down 26%.

Spend figures are expected to be closer to 2019 levels than arrival figures, as they have not been adjusted for inflation.

Current spend figures are from the low season, and therefore comparative figures from 2019 are likely to be more volatile.

There were 3,804 Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) visa arrivals since reopening in March

At 11 Aug 2022, 3,804 people had arrived in New Zealand since applications started again in mid-March.

There have been 20,550 applications approved up to 11 Aug, with a further 18,050 automatically granted due to un-used and expired WHS visas from COVID-19.

The UK leads the way in the number of approvals, followed by France and Germany.

Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) Offshore Onshore Total WHS - Special Direction Grand Total
Applications received 22,210 370 22,580
Applications approved 20,330 220 20,550 18,050 38,600
Arrivals 2,926 878 3,804

Working Holiday Scheme UK France Germany USA
Offshore applications approved 2,970 2,440 2,180 1,520

Working Holiday Scheme visa holders in NZ down 82% in July 2022 compared with 2019

There were 5,025 WHS visa holders in New Zealand, at 31 July 2022.

In comparison, there were 28,026 WHS visa holders in New Zealand on 31 July 2019 (down 82%).

International guest nights continue to recover

International guest nights totalled 272k in June 2022, up 43% on June 2021.

However, this figure is still 66% down on pre-Covid estimates in June 2019.

International guest nights represented 13% of the total 1.8m guest nights in June 2022.