18 Oct 2015

Goal to boost domestic tourism by $9b

6:25 am on 18 October 2015

A new group has been charged with finding ways to get New Zealanders to travel in their own country with the aim of boosting domestic tourism spending by $9 billion in 10 years.

Tourism New Zealand's latest campaign images.

One of Tourism New Zealand's campaign images. Photo: Tourism New Zealand

Tourism leaders have been brought in to work together on the Domestic Travel Strategy with the aim of growing the value of domestic tourism from $13.4 billion to $22.6 billion by 2025.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts said domestic tourism was worth more than international tourism but was seen as the poorer cousin.

"No one has a single responsibility for growing that domestic tourism market so that's why we've brought the interested parties together. The way to succeed in growing the domestic travel market is by taking an aligned approach, by getting a line across the industry as to how we can grow the size of that domestic pie.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts. Photo: Supplied

"By telling our stories better to a domestic audience, by getting the motivation there, understanding what motivates New Zealanders to travel within their own country, there is the opportunity to significantly grow the domestic tourism market."

Mr Roberts said the aim was to urge New Zealanders to spend their money travelling at home instead of overseas or buying things like flat screen televisions.

"Where they've got the ability to have a travel experience we hope they have that in New Zealand and we hope that they want to explore their own country and see what it has to offer."

He said encouraging New Zealanders to travel locally should smooth out the peaks and troughs that affected many operators. Growing domestic tourism, he said, would help boost regional economies.

Mr Roberts said domestic tourism was a saviour for the industry after the global financial crisis in 2008 when international tourism stagnated.

"Right now there's a lot of focus on how well New Zealand is doing in attracting international visitors.

"We're seeing very, very strong growth from our visitors overseas. Domestic tourism gets forgotten in that picture but it remains incredibly important and rather than just leave it to plod along we want to find ways to stimulate it and really maximise the benefit that New Zealand can get out of the economic activity that domestic travellers generate."

He said there were no plans to spend more on marketing New Zealand to New Zealanders but the working group aimed to make some of its ideas public by the end of the year.

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