The trans-Tasman bubble is likely to benefit our regions more than our main cities as Australians will spend money on unique outdoor experiences, a money transfer provider says.
COVID-19 restrictions have meant many travellers have saved some cash. And when quarantine-free travel opens between New Zealand and Australia on April 19, Aussie travellers will be looking for new places to spend it.
According to Western Union currency strategist Steven Dooley, Aussies coming to New Zealand will be looking for unique, memorable and premium experiences they can share with their families. As those wanting the big city experience are already well-catered for in places like Melbourne and Sydney, they're more likely to spend money on unique outdoor experiences.
Dooley expects ski fields, sailing, cruising, wineries, bungy jumping and mountain climbing experiences to be popular choices, meaning more will flock to regions such as Otago, Southland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.
"It's definitely regional... Australians tend to be a lot more focused on outdoor experience opportunities including Queenstown and [elsewhere] in the South Island," Dooley says.
He says pent-up demand means many have cash ready to be spent.
"It's those unique events that previously might have been seen as too expensive that now might be the perfect time to pitch to the Australian audience," Dooley adds.
And the strength of the Aussie dollar means they'll get more bang for their buck, with one Australian dollar currently worth around NZ$1.08 (92c for NZ$1 for Kiwis heading across the ditch).
"In terms of currency, it's cheaper [for Australians] to go to New Zealand now than any time it has been since mid-2018," Dooley says.
But all is not lost for New Zealand's 'big' cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, where many Aussie travellers will be stopping off.
"It's going to be dining experiences, cultural experiences (museums, art galleries) and restaurants with strong local ingredients that will encourage Australians to stay in the cities," Dooley adds.
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne confirms prior to COVID-19, Australians were the coastal Bay of Plenty's largest international visitor market.
Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) data shows in the year to January 2020, Aussie travellers contributed an estimated $70 million to Tauranga city and the western Bay of Plenty and Whakatāne districts.
Dunne expects many of the first Australians to travel to New Zealand to visit family and friends. A workshop with Bay of Plenty tourism operators has been held and plans are being developed to "welcome Aussies to the Bay".
"Many of the Coastal Bay of Plenty's tourism operators are excited to greet our Aussie mates and are looking forward to welcoming them back to our shores with true Kiwi hospitality and manaakitanga," Dunne says.