This update combines the April 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 April 2023
Tourism card spend figures in April 2023 continued to surpass pre-COVID April 2019 levels for both domestic and international markets. International spend relative to pre-COVID has strongly accelerated, possibly due to pent-up demand and favourable exchange rates for key markets.
International guest nights have come closer to pre-COVID levels, while domestic guest nights’ growth has slowed down due to elevated costs and the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle. However, total guest nights continued to recover from the cyclone and are approaching pre-COVID levels.
At the RTO level, accommodation figures for cyclone-hit Hawke’s Bay remained weak.
Accommodation Data Programme (ADP)
- Total guest nights approached pre-COVID levels — Nationwide, core tourism accommodation providers hosted 3.4 million guest nights. Total guest nights continued to recover from the cyclone over the last three months, with gaps to pre-COVID levels reducing from 12% in February 2023 to 5% in April 2023.
- Domestic guest nights still up, international guest nights still down from pre-COVID levels — Domestic guest nights totalled 2.4 million (70% of total guest nights). These were up 13% from April 2019 levels. The growth in domestic guest nights relative to pre-COVID levels has been slowing down over the last seven months due to a combination of elevated costs, natural disasters, and weather conditions. In contrast, international guest nights have been gradually approaching pre-COVID levels. The April 2023 figure is about 70% of the April 2019 international guest nights.
- Cyclone-hit Hawke’s Bay still had the highest proportion of unavailable stay units — Hawke’s Bay was recovering from the cyclone, with the percentage of unavailable stay units decreasing from 40% in March 2023 to 28% in April 2023. However, Hawke’s Bay still had the highest proportion of unavailable stay units and the sharpest drop from last year’s levels among all the RTOs this month.
- Hawke’s Bay’s domestic guest nights relative to pre-COVID declined further — Hawke’s Bay still experienced the sharpest decline (down 42%) from pre-COVID levels in domestic guest nights among the RTOs. This figure was 3 percentage points lower than last month’s record.
- Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Clutha led other RTOs in domestic guest nights’ growth from pre-COVID — Auckland (up 80,000) and Bay of Plenty (up 37,000) showed the strongest increases in domestic guest nights among all the RTOs compared to April 2019, while Clutha showed the strongest proportional growth in domestic guest nights, more than twice compared to pre-COVID levels.
- Queenstown and Lake Taupo had the highest occupancy rates — Queenstown (70%) and Lake Taupo (67%) RTOs recorded the highest occupancy rates, well above the national average (55%) for April 2023. The highest occupancy rate recorded for Queenstown since border re-opening was 81% in February 2023.
- High occupancy rates in motels and apartments — Motels and apartments had the highest occupancy rate (73%) among all types of properties. It was followed by backpackers with an occupancy rate of 70%, up more than twice compared to April 2022, most likely as a result of having more international visitors and budget-conscious travellers after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tourism Electronic Card Transactions (TECTs)
- Domestic TECT spend still saw growth from pre-COVID levels — Nationwide, domestic TECT spend was up 14% from April 2019 levels. The rise in domestic spend relative to pre-COVID levels has been consistent over the last three months.
- Cyclone-hit Coromandel’s domestic card spend fell — Coromandel (down 9%) experienced the sharpest drop from April 2019 in domestic TECT spend among the RTOs due to road access issues and consumer perceptions.
- International TECT spend still up from pre-COVID levels — The growth in international TECT spend relative to pre-COVID 2019 levels has been strongly accelerating over the last three months, from 4% in February 2023 to 25% in April 2023. This is likely due to favourable exchange rates, the global economy’s recovery, and pent-up travel demand.
- Monthly Australian spend still down from pre-COVID levels — The top international card spender was Australia, followed by the USA. Australian spend relative to pre-COVID levels has been decreasing over the last three months due to a stronger NZD, from a 6% fall in February 2023 to a 20% fall in April 2023. In contrast, USA spend relative to pre-COVID levels has been increasing, from 19% growth in February 2023 to 34% growth in April 2023. These changes can likely be attributed to favourable exchange rates for the USD.
We are close to resolving the issue with the Monthly Unique Regional Population Estimates
This update does not include the Monthly Unique Regional Population Estimates (MURPEs) due to the issue with filtering non-mobile devices with cellular capability from mobile devices. Our data provider advised that they had successfully implemented a new and more dynamic approach to identifying and filtering non-mobile devices. This approach is currently being applied to the data. The aim is to provide us with fully quality-checked MURPEs, including backdated data, by July 2023. Our top priority is to ensure any data release meets our strict data quality standards. We apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause.
Our data provider’s full error report can be found here.
MURPEs stakeholder report – Tourism Evidence and Insights Centre
Only certain measures in the ADP can be compared to the Accommodation Survey
This update compares the results of April 2023 against April 2019 for TECTs and ADP. 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 Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) level.
Caution should be used with the TECT data
Domestic and international figures should 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
Tourism Insights Users Group meeting 22 June 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 22 June from 2:30pm to 4:00pm. Its details can be found below.
TIUG post - LinkedIn
Insight updates available via 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
TECT and ADP data for May 2023 will be released in July 2023
See our tourism data release calendar with release dates to September 2023.
Data release calendar - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment