Airbnb data reveals massive increase in New Zealand domestic travel bookings

The figures will come as welcome news to struggling small tourism operators.
The figures will come as welcome news to struggling small tourism operators. Photo credit: Getty Images

Domestic tourism in New Zealand appears to be showing promising early signs, according to new data released by Airbnb.

With COVID-19 alert level 2 allowing for domestic travel, there's been a big surge in domestic bookings on the accommodation booking website over the last week.

Some of Aotearoa's more well known destinations such as Queenstown, Taupo and Northland even recorded more domestic bookings than in the same week in 2019.

Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington are all also showing strong month-on-month increases, compared to 2019.

Booking boost:

Domestic bookings on Airbnb increased 15 times over the last week when compared to the same week last month.

New Zealand bookings on Airbnb have recovered to 85 percent of pre-COVID levels, compared with the same week in 2019, the website says.

The data also shows that people aren't stretching their bubbles too far, with more than 55 percent of bookings being within 320km of peoples' homes, and 16 percent choosing locations less than 80km away. 

Additionally, those who aren't booking just yet do appear to be searching. There has been more than 790,000 total searches in Aoteaora over the last week, up 70 percent since the country's move to level 2. 

The most searched destinations were Auckland, Queenstown, Northland, Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch. 

"The return of domestic travel is a welcome relief for the local families and communities who depend on New Zealand's tourism industry. Already, we're seeing very encouraging early signs of domestic tourism getting ready to bounce back and make a big contribution to economic recovery," Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb's Australia and New Zealand Manager said.

"This has been an extremely challenging time for everyone across the tourism industry and we're really keen to help local tourism operators and small businesses get back on their feet."

Flights have resumed across most of the Air New Zealand's domestic and regional network, meaning Kiwis can resume the tradition of getting away for the weekend.