Friday, July 26th, 2013
Winter is the perfect time to escape to a South Pacific island, and New Zealanders are in the perfect position to do this. But lately, they've been choosing the Cook Islands over old favourite Fiji...

As winter digs its chilly heels in, it’s only natural that some of us are suddenly dreaming of sun-drenched, tropical beach paradises. With its relative proximity to iconic islands like Fiji and Tonga, New Zealand is a logical jumping-off point for a South Pacific escape — and many Kiwis take full advantage of this. But over the last few years, there’ve been some interesting shifts in their preferred destinations…

In the year to May 2006, 78,000 New Zealanders — or 3.1% of all Kiwis who took an overseas holiday during that period — went to Fiji; more than to any other South Pacific island. However, after the military coup that took place there in late 2006, visitor numbers started declining. In the year to May 2013, just 1.8% of Kiwis who holidayed overseas chose to go to Fiji.

As Fiji’s star waned, that of the Cook Islands rose, with 2.3% of New Zealanders who travelled overseas taking a holiday there in the year to May 2013, up from 1.5% in May 2006 — resulting in the Cook Islands overtaking Fiji as the most popular South Pacific destination.

Selling the South Pacific to the New Zealand market

New Zealand has long been a popular target market for tourism organisations from South Pacific islands, with Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands being among the travel destinations with the highest rate of advertising recall among Kiwis.

No less than 42.9% of New Zealanders recall having read, seen or heard something on travel or tourism in Fiji over the last 12 months – second only to Australia (55.3%). Yet this hasn’t boosted visitor numbers to the troubled island nation, whereas the Cook Islands’ tourist numbers are high for their comparatively low 19.4% advertising recall rate.

Source (Chart 1): Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), January 2001 – May 2013 (n = 109,703).

Source (Chart 2): Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), June 2012 – May 2013 (n=12,092)

Pip Elliott, General Manager, Roy Morgan Research NZ, says:

“Since 2006’s military coup, Fiji’s fortunes as the most popular South Pacific’s island destination among Kiwi holiday-makers have faded. However, its high advertising recall rate suggests that New Zealanders haven’t forgotten its existence.

“For its South Pacific neighbours, Fiji’s fall from favour has had a positive impact on tourism growth, with Cook Island and Samoa benefiting from growth in ad recall and tourist numbers through investment in destination marketing, more weekly flights with competitive pricing and trade agreements with New Zealand.

“Information on South Pacific tourism movement and advertising awareness provides a helpful insight for marketers looking to get a clear picture of the current state of the South Pacific tourism industry.

“For Fiji, it’s a critical time to use this data to identify how it can target and position its brand image to win back its former glory as the iconic tropical island destination.”

Contact Profile

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.
Samantha Wilson
P: (03) 9224 5268


Winter is the perfect time to escape to a South Pacific island, and New Zealanders are in the perfect position to do this. But lately, they've been choosing the Cook Islands over old favourite Fiji...



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