Regional businesses can expect an Easter windfall after new research shows that Kiwis are planning to spend more on domestic getaways while overseas travel remains off limits.
A survey by market researchers YouGov found that over 40 per cent of holidaymakers had extra cash to spend this April, which otherwise would have gone towards holidays abroad. A third of New Zealanders (35 per cent) said they would use the Easter holidays to explore regions and support businesses most affected by a difficult year for travel and hospitality.
However, regional tourism operators should not count their chickens before they've hatched.
Even with extra budget, price point was revealed as the number one priority for over two thirds (72 per cent) of New Zealanders, when choosing holiday plans.
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Spending is likely to be uneven and favour certain regions and types of properties. More expensive destinations and those which normally depend on more overseas tourists are likely to see less of a bounce back than others.
Bookings platform Airbnb, which commissioned the research, said the findings were "really great news" for regional businesses. It promised "a much needed boost out of this year's Easter holiday road trips", said Airbnb's country manager Susan Wheeldon.
Backed up by search data from the company's online listings, Airbnb has revealed resort destinations such as Queenstown and Rotorua remain firm favourites. However, urban centres and gateways for international visitors – such as Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington - have dropped out of the rankings.
Even when borders reopen, domestic holidays may be the rule not the exception.
On Thursday the government's Environment Commissioner Simon Upton suggested a "Departure Tax" on Kiwis heading overseas. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said it was too early to respond to the plan in detail. He said a return to a pre-pandemic "business as usual" was not an option.
"There is broad support for the idea that protecting tourism livelihoods in the short term should not morph into a slow but inexorable return to the status quo in the long term," Upton said.
Most-searched regional destinations
● Hanmer Springs
Regions with most Airbnb bookings for between April 2 and 9, 2021.