There are few foreign countries as cheap and easy for Australians to fly to as New Zealand. Indeed, 12.8% of us say we would like to visit the Land of the Long White Cloud for a holiday in the next two years — second only to the USA (18.0%). But over the last few years, there has been a slight decline in New Zealand’s popularity as a potential overseas holiday destination, while the USA’s star has risen.
In the six months to September 2010, 13.9% of Australians 14+ agreed they would like to holiday in New Zealand at some point in the following two years, a slightly higher proportion than the current figure. In contrast, the proportion interested in a US holiday is higher now than it was four years ago (15.2%).
Most of New Zealand’s decline is due to decreasing interest in visiting the South Island, which has fallen from 9.5% to 7.4%. Christchurch, in particular, seems to have lost some of its shine: while 3.8% of Aussies wanted to visit in 2010, only 2.3% do now.
New Zealand destinations where Aussies would like to take a holiday: 2010 vs 2014
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2010 -September 2010 (n=18,941) and October 2013 – September 2014 (n=16,176).
The earthquake effect
Back in 2010, Christchurch was second only to Auckland as a New Zealand city Aussies would like to visit; four years later, it is fourth of the four cities measured by Roy Morgan’s Holiday Tracking Poll. Unfortunately, it seems that its popularity as a potential holiday destination was impacted by the earthquake in February 2011.
This becomes especially clear if we consider Australians’ holiday preferences in the months around February 2011. During the October-December 2010 quarter, 3.7% of Aussies expressed interest in visiting Christchurch on holiday; by the January-March 2011 quarter, this had declined to 3.2%, before dropping further to 2.4% during the April-June 2011 quarter. By July-September 2011, it was sitting at 2.1%.
Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“While New Zealand remains the second-most popular country named by Aussies as an overseas holiday destination they’d like to visit in the next two years, the slight decline since the Christchurch earthquake is potentially cause for concern. Because it’s not just Christchurch that has lost ground: our data reveals there has been a downward turn in the popularity of several major Kiwi destinations since 2010.
“However this trend is showing signs of turning around, with slightly more Australians saying they’d like to spend a holiday in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown than at the same time last year. And why wouldn’t they? There are very few overseas destinations as easy and affordable for Australians to get to, and offering such a diverse range of attractions, as New Zealand.
“Following the introduction last year of a direct Air New Zealand service between Perth and Christchurch, Tourism New Zealand is currently targeting Western Australians in an effort to lure them across the Tasman. According to our data, however, they might have more luck appealing to Queenslanders, who are 20% more likely than the average Australian to name New Zealand as somewhere they’d like to take a holiday in the next two years; or people from NSW, who are 12% more likely to name Christchurch.”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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