More than 227,000 New Zealanders would definitely like to make Rotorua their domestic holiday destination in the next 12 months, according to a Horizon Research report.
This number could rise by 115,000 by including those who would like to take a domestic holiday but are not definitely intending to take one.
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The projections for domestic tourism come from an extensive Horizon Research survey projecting domestic tourism market potential after Covid-19 travel restrictions are eased.
The projected visitor numbers were for the primary adult traveller.
Horizon said they would be higher because most will travel with partners or others. Of those who say they would definitely like to holiday in Rotorua, only six per cent intended to holiday alone (compared with 25 per cent nationally) and more than half intended to holiday with partners and families.
Among the 16 holiday experience types surveyed, 67 per cent of those intending to visit Rotorua were for experiences and 43 per cent for exciting adventures.
However, Rotorua would need to market effectively to achieve the maximum potential visitor numbers as other centres, like Queenstown/Wanaka and the Bay of Islands, were also destinations Rotorua's potential visitors would definitely consider, the survey found.
Rotorua could also attract a further 420,600 holidaymakers. These are people who say they would prefer a holiday in Rotorua if they could take one.
Nationwide, Horizon found that 34 per cent of adults, an estimated 1,229,600 million people, definitely intended to take a domestic holiday in the next 7 to 12 months, as alert levels allowed.
This was up 176,000 from Horizon's April 7 to 12 measure of activity people were likely to undertake in the first six months after level 4 was lifted and when permitted.
Horizon said some other areas in which most New Zealanders intended to holiday in the next 12 months were the Bay of Islands (an estimated 378,700 adults), Queenstown/Wanaka (431,600), Coromandel (339,400), Nelson/Tasman (344,300), West Coast (259,400). Numbers are also higher for Auckland and Wellington.
Those who indicated that they would definitely take a domestic holiday in the 7 to12 months each expected to spend an average of $2320 on their trips.
Twelve per cent of that group expected to spend more than $4000, and only five per cent were unsure how much they would spend.
Horizon said niche markets of high-worth domestic holiday makers were also available. For example, about 35,900 adults intend to spend between $10,000 and $15,000 per trip and around 3800 of the 127,000 definitely wanting a Rotorua holiday would look for five-star accommodation.
Asked what sort of "mood" their domestic holiday would be if they were able to take it. Of those who said they would take a domestic holiday in the 7 to 12 months after lockdown restrictions were lifted:
• 61% wanted to see New Zealand's scenery.
• 59% wanted a relaxing holiday.
• 59% wanted their holiday to be social/catching up /meeting people.
• A nett 60% (an estimated 740,500 adults) wanted a holiday with a mixture of activities
and quiet times.
• A nett 19% (an estimated 187,100 adults) wanted quiet time only.
• A nett 15% (an estimated 237,300 adults) wanted activities only.
Horizon principal Graeme Colman said definite and likely visitor numbers were also large for some of the main centres and total potential was higher for some smaller regions than the actual numbers of domestic visitors they were experiencing before Covid-19.
This included Whanganui.
"We're hopeful they can use the insights to make the most of the restart and in each of the coming 12 months. It should help them target potential travellers who most want the holidays they can offer," he said.
The research also profiled the 64 per cent of adults who would not take a domestic holiday in the next 7 to12 months, and what they would prefer if they did and at what cost.
This would inform campaigns to increase the number of definite holidaymakers to more than 34 per cent overall.