Will Australia or New Zealand benefit from the travel bubble most?

The New Zealand travel industry is likely to reap the greater benefit from the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble, research suggests.

Wellington-based research and strategy company Angus & Associates found that 21 per cent of Australians indicated that they were likely to travel to New Zealand for leisure in the next 12 months.

Similarly, 21 per cent of New Zealanders indicated that they were likely to travel to Australia in the same period.

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While the proportions are equal, the proportion of New Zealanders indicating that they are likely to cross the Tasman has increased significantly since January (from 13 per cent in January, to 25 per cent in April).

Across the four-month period, the level of demand among Australians has been more consistent.

Angus & Associates research director Carolyn Parker said New Zealand was better placed to take advantage of the trans-Tasman bubble.

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“While not all will proceed with trans-Tasman travel in the time period stated, we should see New Zealand reaping the greater benefit because of the respective population size of each country,” Ms Parker explained.

Since the first flight from Australia to New Zealand took off from Sydney to Auckland on 19 April, the two-way Tasman travel arrangement has been in New Zealand’s favour on a ratio of three to two, according to figures from Statistics New Zealand.

Daily movements across the border data showed that in the first nine days of the bubble, New Zealand welcomed more than 30,000 international arrivals, with just over 20,000 people departing over the same period.

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Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said the volume of traffic over the first nine days was still a long way below normal traffic movements.

“Over the same nine days in 2019, there were 177,000 arrivals into New Zealand and 191,000 departures,” Mr Roberts said.

The Angus & Associates survey asked New Zealanders and Australians about their likelihood of travel for the next three, six and 12 months. 

A growing proportion of New Zealanders are also likely to travel to Australia in the next six months – from 5 per cent in January to 15 per cent in April.

Despite a growing proportion of New Zealanders looking to travel to Australia, New Zealanders’ demand for domestic travel is so far largely unaffected by the trans-Tasman bubble’s opening.

“While a softening in demand is evident in April, it’s not a significant change,” Ms Parker explained. “In April, 63 per cent of New Zealand respondents said they were likely to travel in New Zealand in the next six months. This compares with 65 per cent in January.”

In terms of the profile of visitors to New Zealand from Australia, survey results show that Australian visitors in the coming months are more likely to be male, more likely to be younger Australians (under 50 years), and more likely to be those with children aged five to 14.

“As Australia’s vaccination program progresses, it will be interesting to see if the age profile of intending travellers skews older,” Ms Parker said.

Are you likely to travel to New Zealand in the next 12 months? Have you been to New Zealand before? Would you recommend it to others?

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Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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