This update combines the July 2023 data releases for:
Note that figures from the releases may not align fully due to them measuring different activities, data limitations, and wider economic factors. More information regarding these data releases can be found here:
Tourism data releases - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Key points for July 2023
The international tourism market accelerated strongly in July 2023, with a range of metrics exceeding or approaching pre-COVID levels. New Zealand’s co-hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup provided a welcome boost to visitor arrivals, while pent-up demand following the pandemic is likely still flowing through the international market.
By comparison, the domestic tourism market was relatively subdued compared to July 2022, possibly due to a greater propensity for Kiwis to travel overseas and a tightening in discretionary spending. However, domestic tourism figures for July 2023 were still well above levels seen in July 2019, prior to the pandemic.
Tourism Electronic Card Transactions (TECTs)
- Domestic TECT spend down from last year’s but up from pre-COVID levels — Nationwide, domestic TECT spend in July 2023 was down 6% from July 2022 but up 21% from July 2019 (pre-COVID). The growth in domestic spend relative to 2019 levels has been accelerating over the last three months.
- International TECT spend exceeded last year’s and pre-COVID levels — International TECT spend in July 2023 was up 29% and 16% on the same month in 2022 and 2019. The growth in international spend relative to 2019 levels has been accelerating over the last three months.
- Australian spend down from last year’s and pre-COVID levels — Australia was the top spender among international markets in July 2023. However, monthly spend for this market was weaker compared with the same month in the previous year (down 14%) and in 2019 (down 20%). The second-top spender was the USA, up 84% from last year’s levels. The FIFA World Cup has likely boosted USA spending, with this market achieving the highest proportional growth on July 2019 levels (up 133%) compared with that of all other countries.
Accommodation Data Programme (ADP)
- Total guest nights increased from both last year’s and pre-COVID levels — Accommodation providers received a boost from the FIFA World Cup, with total guest nights of 2.8 million in July 2023, up 11% and 4% from July 2022 and 2019 levels, respectively. Total guest nights have been steadily growing from 6% below pre-COVID levels to surpassing pre-COVID levels over the last three months.
- Domestic guest nights down, international guest nights up from last year’s levels — Domestic guest nights totalled 2 million (72% of the total guest nights) in July 2023. These were down 4% from on the same month in 2022 but up 16% from July 2019 levels. The growth in domestic guest nights relative to pre-COVID levels has been accelerating since May 2023. International guest nights in July 2023 were up 83% from July 2022 but down 17% from July 2019 levels. The gap to pre-COVID levels of international guest nights has been narrowing over the last three months.
- Clutha showed the strongest proportional rise in both domestic and international guest nights relative to other RTOs — Domestic guest nights in Clutha were up 136%, while international guest nights were up 81%, compared to July 2022.
- Queenstown and RTOs hosting FIFA World Cup matches had the highest occupancy rates — Queenstown recorded the highest occupancy rate (71%) among all the RTOs, well above the national average (49%) in July 2023. It was followed by FIFA World Cup game venues like Auckland (68%), Dunedin (64%), and Wellington (62%).
- High occupancy rates in motels and apartments with more than 20 units and hotels — Motels and apartments with more than 20 units had the highest occupancy rate (69%) among all types of properties in July 2023. It was followed by hotels (67%).
Monthly Unique Regional Population Estimates (MURPEs)
- Domestic visitor volume down from last year’s but up from pre-COVID levels — Nationwide, estimated unique domestic visitors totalled 2.2 million in July 2023, down 7% from July 2022 but up 22% from July 2019 levels. The rise in domestic visitors relative to pre-COVID levels has been accelerating since May 2023. Tairawhiti (up 104%) and Mackenzie (up 91%) showed the strongest proportional growth on July 2019 in domestic visitors relative to other RTOs.
- International visitor volumes have increased strongly compared to last year and are approaching pre-COVID levels — Nationwide, estimated unique international visitors totalled 374,000 in July 2023, up 92% from July 2022 but down 4% from July 2019 levels. The gap to pre-COVID levels of international visitors has been narrowing since March 2023. Wellington had the strongest proportional growth (up 15%) on July 2019 in international visitors relative to other RTOs. Coromandel (down 51%) and Fiordland (down 49%) showed the largest proportional decrease in international visitors.
Tourism Insights Users Group meeting on 21 September 2023
The Tourism Insights Users Group (TIUG) brings the sector together quarterly to present and discuss the latest developments in the tourism research, data, and analytics space. It provides an opportunity to ask questions about these developments. The next meeting is held on 21 September from 2:00pm to 3:30pm. Its details can be found below.
TIUG post – LinkedIn
Only certain measures in the ADP can be compared to the Accommodation Survey
This update compares July 2023 to July 2022 and July 2019 for ADP, TECTs, and MURPEs. Due to methodological differences between the ADP and the Accommodation Survey, only aggregated volume figures, such as guest nights, are compared at the national or RTO level.
Caution should be used with the TECT data
Domestic and international figures are not adjusted for inflation and seasonality. They should also be used separately and not added together. This is because electronic card transactions in each market represent a different proportion of total tourism spend, meaning they cannot be directly compared. More information can be found here.
Tourism Electronic Card Transactions – Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Receive dynamic insight updates like this on your LinkedIn
The Tourism Evidence and Insights team at MBIE has a LinkedIn social media channel for the Tourism Evidence and Insights Centre (TEIC). This page brings dynamic and concise updates like this from the TEIC straight to your LinkedIn feed.
Tourism Evidence and Insights Centre – LinkedIn
ADP and MURPE data for August 2023 will be released in October 2023.
See our tourism data release calendar with release dates to December 2023.
Data release calendar - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment