A report into tourists' impressions of New Zealand has found most of them had a good time, but what about those less than satisfied tourists?
Ninety-six percent of visitors surveyed in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's International Visitor Survey said the country met or exceeded their expectations, but for those that had negative experiences, there were some stand out areas.
High costs were a popular reason for lower scores across accommodation, activities, food and beverage outlets, and public transport.
The survey reviewed feedback from overseas visitors from the third quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2017.
- Food and beverage
Thirty two percent of visitors rated their satisfaction with food and drink outlets at seven or less out of 10. This category had the highest amount of 1-7 scores and the lowest average score of any type of service or amenity.
Of those, 24 percent said expense was the main reason for the low score. Closely following was limited choice and poor food quality. Among visitors who selected 'another reason', some said food was too expensive and others noted a lack of variety and options for dietary requirements, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and halal. A lack of 'authentic' New Zealand food was also cited.
- Commercial transport
Twenty four percent of visitors rated their satisfaction with commercial transport as 7 or less out of 10. The main reasons were expense, at 22 percent, and no reason, at 21 percent. Other reasons were transport infrequency, not going to enough places, and being inaccessible.
Twenty percent of visitors rated their contentment with accommodation at 7 or less out of 10. The main reason for the low score was 'no free internet', but this was becoming less of an issue. In 2014 this was the main reason given by 22 percent of those who scored accommodation 7 or less, but by March this year it had dropped to 10 per cent.
Other commonly selected choices include expense, poor and old facilities, inconsistent quality, poor cleanliness and lack of free camping.
Fourteen percent of visitors rated their satisfaction with tourism activities at 7 or less out of 10. The main reason for the score was 'no reason' at 22 percent. Expense was also a factor, at 20 percent. Crowding and a lack of organisation were also cited.
- Customer Service
Nineteen percent of visitors rated their satisfaction with customer service at 7 or less out of 10. There was no clear reason for this, but most frequently mentioned was unfriendly staff, and staff that didn't care. 'No' and 'another' reason were also commonly selected. Of those who selected 'another reason' some cited poor and inconsistent service.
- Sense of safety
Nine percent of visitors rated their sense of safety during their visit at 7 or less out of 10. The top three reasons selected were 'no' and 'another' reason, and 'felt unsafe'- which came in at 18 percent. Among those who selected 'another reason 'common themes were unsafe roads, crime on the news and earthquakes.
- Natural and built environment
Eight percent of visitors rated their satisfaction with New Zealand's natural or built environment at 7 or less out of 10. Almost all of these gave scores of 5-7. The main reasons were 'no' and 'another' reason. A small percentage mentioned litter was a reason for a low score. Among those who selected 'another reason' some referred to a lack of recycling facilities and to the built environment not measuring up to the natural environment.
- Māori activities
Twenty eight percent of people rated their satisfaction with Māori activities at 7 or less out of 10. For this category, visitors were asked to give a reason for their score. The top six reasons were positive, and these made up nearly 99 percent of answers. Of negative reasons the most common was 'did not live up to expectations' and 'boring'.
Twenty two percent of visitors rated their satisfaction with i-Sites as 7 or less out of 10. 26 per cent gave no reason. Among visitors who selected 'another reason', information, or lack of it, was a common theme. Some felt that i-Sites lacked information about free activities, or that staff were trying to sell them something - and others referred to inconsistent service
- Fifteen percent of visitors gave no reason for scoring a service or amenity 7 or less
When asked why they rated a service or amenity 7 or less, some visitors selected 'no reason'. Across all services or amenities, 15 percent selected this option. 'No reason' was the most popular or second most popular choice for five of the services or amenities covered in the survey. 'Another reason' was also a common choice, which meant visitors could write their own reasons for the scores given. Of these, 62 percent had given scores of 7 out of 10, and a large proportion of comments were negative.