New Zealand - Country Commercial Guide
Travel & Tourism

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-07-31

Overview

In May 2022, New Zealand’s borders reopened after COVID restrictions were lifted.  Although flight numbers and traveler volumes remain below pre-pandemic levels, as customer confidence increases and flight options improve, led mainly by the business sector and family travel, the industry forecasts visitor numbers to quickly increase.  Pre-COVID, approximately 300,000 New Zealanders annually visited the United States – mainly for vacations.  Several U.S. travel attractions and U.S. states have offices or are represented in New Zealand.  The United States is the most popular long-haul destination for local travelers.  Peak booking periods are February-March and July-August.  Peak season for U.S. travel is in New Zealand’s winter months of June-September.  As New Zealanders recover from the pandemic’s effects, local travelers are seeking safe destinations with good health facilities – and the United States meets these criteria.

Air New Zealand’s recommencement of flights from mid-2022 (Auckland to San Francisco, Houston, Chicago and Honolulu) as well as the airline’s September 17, 2022 launch of a new route from Auckland to New York signal the airline anticipates a strong rebound.  Pre-COVID, American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines all flew to New Zealand.   Although New Zealand’s cruise industry remains closed, cruising in North America is beginning to pick-up.

With one of the highest passport ownership numbers globally, New Zealanders are avid travelers.   All full-time employees in New Zealand receive a generous leave package comprising of four weeks paid annual leave plus 11 statutory public holidays.   This means once they are in the United States, New Zealand visitors tend to stay longer (16 days average) and spend more. 

Travel Trade Data

 

2019

2020

2021

2022 (Estimated)

New Zealand Visitors to the USA

299,447

43,844

11,711

100,000

Exchange Rates

1.45

1.42

1.41

1.55

Source:  U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO)

Leading Sub-Sectors

Impact Travel – traveling with a purpose.  New Zealanders are receptive to knowing more about Native American culture.

  • Shopping
  • Trade Events/ Business

Opportunities

U.S. travel and tourism bureaus have the opportunity of meeting New Zealand travel trade buyers and media at the annual IPW trade event hosted by the U.S. Travel Association.  The U.S. Commercial Service in New Zealand supports the recruitment of the annual delegation.

Gate 7 based in Sydney, Australia is appointed by Brand USA to support New Zealand’s travel trade industry.  The annual Brand USA seminar program held in Auckland in February is the premier event of its kind in New Zealand for the U.S. travel industry to connect with the local travel trade.  This in-person event takes place back-back with the Australian program.    

The New Zealand Visit USA Committee coordinates regional travel seminars for the local trade.  The New Zealand Visit USA Committee is receptive to knowing of U.S. travel attractions/U.S. states planning to visit New Zealand. 

Resources

New Zealand Government agencies active in this sector:

New Zealand private organizations active in this sector