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Tourism Recovery Insights data pack - 30 August

August 30, 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 21 Aug 2022 1. Queenstown showing strong border arrivals, boosted by ski season
Weekly visitor arrivals Short-term overseas visitor data from arrival card information StatsNZ 7 Aug 2022 2. Australian visitor arrivals only down 16% at start of August
3. Number of holiday visitor arrivals surpass 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 to be back to 78% 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 21 Aug 2022 5. International electronic card transaction (ECT) spend still down 31% 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 25 Aug 2022 6. Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) visa arrivals up by 1,100 in latest fortnight
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 July 2022 8. July international guest nights more than double the number in 2021


Queenstown showing strong border arrivals, boosted by ski season

Overall border arrivals to NZ totalled 70,300 in the week-ended 21 August, down 43% on the same week in 2019. Of these, 31,700 were non-NZers.

The majority of these border arrivals were to Auckland (49,500).

Strong ski season has lifted arrivals to Queenstown to around 80% of the same period in 2019. This is higher than other New Zealand regions for the same period.

Border arrivals Total, week-ended 21 Aug 2022 Change vs same week in 2019
Auckland 49,500 -46%
Christchurch 8,000 -43%
Queenstown 7,600 -20%
Wellington 5,200 -39%

Australian visitor arrivals only down 16% at start of August

In the week-ended 7 August, there were 31,600 overseas visitor arrivals, down 48% on the same week in 2019.

Australian visitor arrivals totalled 22,200 in the same week, down only 16% on 2019 levels.

Since the full border reopening on 1 August, arrival numbers from outside NZ's main three markets (Australia, the US and the UK) have yet to ramp up.

Visitor arrivals Total, week-ended 7 Aug 2022 Change vs same week in 2019
Australia 22,200 -16%
USA 1,600 -54%
UK 1,000 -50%

Number of holiday visitor arrivals surpass VFR

International visitor arrivals to NZ for a holiday continue to increase and totalled 12,700 in the week-ended 7 August, still down 59% on 2019 levels.

This figure was higher than the 11,400 that arrived to visit friends and relatives.

The number of holiday visitor arrivals was down 25% on 2019 levels.

Visitor arrivals Total, week-ended 24 Jul 2022 Change vs same week in 2019
Holiday/vacation 12,700 -59%
Visit friends/relatives 11,400 -25%
Business 3,300 -59%

Operating airline capacity to be back to 78% of 2019 levels by end of year

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

By the end of the year, operating airline capacity is estimated to grow to around 78% of 2019 levels (down 22%).

US airline capacity is forecasted to return to 2019 levels by November, boosted by increased frequency of flights, and the return of some flight paths.

Airline capacity Change vs same month in 2019
Australia North America Total
August 2022 -41% -48% -46%
September 2022 -39% -41% -44%
October 2022 -38% -31% -42%
November 2022 -20% 1% -24%
December 2022 -18% -2% -22%
January 2023 -19% -3% -22%

International electronic card transaction (ECT) spend still down 31% despite high inflation

International ECT spend in NZ in the week-ended 21 Aug was down 31% compared to the same week in 2019.

The industries 'food and liquor' (up 2%) and 'fuel and automotive' (down 13%) are closest to 2019 levels.

Spend figures have not been adjusted for inflation (the rate of increase in prices over a given period) so are expected to be closer to 2019 levels than arrival figures.

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

Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) visa arrivals up by 1,100 in latest fortnight

As at 25 Aug 2022, 4,932 people had arrived in New Zealand since applications started again in mid-March.

This is a jump of over 1,100 people in the last fortnight, a 30% increase in total arrivals since March.

There have been 22,320 applications approved, with a further 18,050 automatically granted due to un-used and expired WHS visas from COVID-19.

The UK tops the number of offshore approvals, followed by France and Germany.

Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) Offshore Onshore Total WHS - Special Direction Grand Total
Applications received 24,050 430 24,480
Applications approved 22,030 290 22,320 18,050 40,370
Arrivals 3,677 1,255 4,932

Working Holiday Scheme UK France Germany USA
Offshore applications approved 3,270 2,660 2,500 1,680

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%).

July international guest nights more than double the number in 2021

International guest nights totalled 437k in July 2022, up 135% on July 2021 (noting border closures limited international visitors to mostly Australia and the Pacific Islands).

However, this figure is still 55% down on pre-Covid estimates in July 2019.

International guest nights in Queenstown increase around 170%, underpinning the strong international ski-season growth.

International guest nights represented 17% of the total 2.5m guest nights in July 2022.

RTO International guest nights - Jul 2022 Percentage change in international guest nights - Jul 2021 Percentage change in international guest nights - Jul 2019
Queenstown 128,500 169% -38%
Auckland 97,600 132% -58%
New Zealand 437,000 135% -55%