Overseas domestic tourism trends


Department of Conservation report international destinations hit significantly by the closure of their borders have shown some interesting trends over the summer months.


Some of the trends below may be indicative of what is to come DOC report as we head into our own summer:


  • Visitation to outdoor recreation areas in many countries has been significantly higher than usual reflecting a strong desire to engage with nature
  • There has been a global spike in outdoor recreation sales – in the USA cycling industry sales in June 2021 increased by 63% compared to June 2020!
  • Increased visitation is providing an influx of spending but is also resulting in some communities being concerned around a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • Uncertainty around visitor numbers has required adaptive management (especially in terms of staffing) informed by close monitoring at place.
  • Increased camping and decreased group sizes suggests visitors may be less willing to share their space with others. 
  • Early signs in our own domestic tourism market show a strong interest for our natural places. This is resulting in some areas being increasingly busy (e.g Te Waikoropupū Springs and Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway). 
  • However, numbers at some DOC-managed places are down due to reduced international tourism (e.g. Roys Peak Track). As of 31 August, bookings for Great Walks were up 36% compared with the same time last year. The Milford Track is fully booked (over 90% of bookings are New Zealanders).


DOC will be watching visitor trends in the current year with interest, and will publicly release data on this around March/April 2021.