Ongoing domestic travel upsurge proves 'Kiwis have fallen back in love with New Zealand' - Intrepid Travel

Milford Sound.
Milford Sound. Photo credit: Getty Images

New research has found 85 percent of New Zealanders are planning to travel within the next year, despite the cost of living crisis.

As COVID-19 remains a threat, 56 percent of Kiwis are looking to travel within Aotearoa, while 29 percent plan to head overseas, according to the study commissioned by Intrepid Travel.

The company's ANZ managing director Sarah Clarke told Newshub the upsurge in New Zealanders travelling locally during the pandemic is continuing, despite the borders reopening.

"Kiwis have fallen back in love with New Zealand and we're seeing that that's not slowing down," said Clarke.

"Word of mouth has been really, really strong. Kiwis are hearing from their friends that have gone on these experiences around New Zealand and then they're going themselves. That just wasn't the case before because people would go overseas.

"Our Otago Rail Trail trip has been very popular, as has our southern trip down to Stewart Island, which are the sorts of places Kiwis might not have gone before because they've gone overseas instead."

As well as more and more New Zealanders heading to destinations in Aotearoa, how Kiwis are travelling also appears to be changing. Backing up similar findings in recent studies, 87 percent of respondents in the Intrepid Travel Index said they were likely to choose sustainable travel options for their next trip.

One problem local tourism operators have encountered is Kiwis' perception that travelling in their own country is more expensive compared to many places overseas.

"New Zealand is a developed country and so it has developed country pricing, so yes, it is more expensive than some countries," said Clarke.

"But I think people have realised that they will get an amazing experience and that certain aspects of the trip may be cheaper - the airfare, for example. So I think people are pairing that up and comparing that whole trip price as well."

For the first time ever, New Zealand was ranked the most popular destination in the Intrepid Travel Index. Nonetheless, nearly one in three of the respondents said they were looking at venturing abroad in the next year.

"We are also seeing Kiwis start to plan for the future with international travel as well. We're starting to see some of those key destinations come back again, like Vietnam, which is a really popular one for Intrepid with Kiwis."

The top five most popular countries in the survey were:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Australia
  3. Turkey
  4. Vietnam
  5. Morocco.

The Intrepid Travel Index was commissioned by Intrepid Travel and conducted by PureProfile in August with 1006 New Zealanders participating.