As the school holidays come to an end, local tourism operators will be bracing for lean times again until the next surge in domestic activity in December.
For most of these businesses, filling the gap left by international tourists is challenging, not just because of fewer numbers but also because generally New Zealand tourists tend to spend less than their overseas counterparts.
The good news is that many New Zealanders who are in a position to travel are getting out and enjoying the rich offerings their country has to offer them.
This was borne out in figures from the July school holidays that showed some areas experienced a boost of 50 per cent in domestic tourist numbers compared to the same time last year.
This latest school holiday period may not quite match that in numbers or total spend because Auckland was at alert level 2 for most of the two-week period and the wage subsidy had stopped.
Domestic tourism makes up about 60 per cent of the $40 billion the industry turns over in normal years. So it's important that Kiwis are left with a good impression – both in terms of value for money and quality of experience.
The Government has copped a fair bit of flak for some elements of a $400 million tourism package dished out to operators, specifically in terms of whether it was targeted at the right businesses.
A grant of $5.1m and potential loan of the same amount to AJ Hackett Bungy, for example, raised eyebrows in part because of the wealth of the operation's owners.
By all accounts, Queenstown's AJ Hackett Bungy was in full swing during the holidays as Kiwis lined up to take the plunge. That was only possible, the company said, because the grant – made following an urgent request – saved the jobs of highly skilled jump master staff and maintained health and safety at the sites.
Co-founder Henry van Ash has said the business may not require the $5.1m loan depending on how things go over the next 12 months.
By that, he means things like the transtasman bubble which is complicated by the issue of whether this country can open the border to travel from overseas or not.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern maintains it's still too early to let Australians in, and New Zealanders will still need to do two weeks of managed isolation on their return home.
Queenstown mayor Jim Boult has described the Government's unwillingness to open the border to Australian visitors right now as a big blow for the tourism sector.
So for now the New Zealand taxpayer and those fortunate enough to participate in domestic tourism are propping up the sector.
There's no reason to begrudge that, but what would be nice is if at some point in the future Kiwi taxpayers get some payback.
Perhaps, if things do improve, the likes of AJ Hackett could look at offering a special discount for Kiwis who can produce a tax return.
This is already done in similar form at some tourist attractions, where if you can prove you are a local ratepayer, you get a much better price than out of towners.
Let's hope the industry gets back on its feet and there is some charity given to New Zealanders who pitched in to keep the wheels turning during these difficult times.