New Zealand tourists will bring extra $186m to Australia instead of US

Analysis by comparison site Finder shows that Australia can expect a massive influx of New Zealand visitors over the next year, a move that could bring an extra $186 million dollars into the local tourism industry.

Australia is already the most popular destination for New Zealand travellers.

The second favourite is the United States, which had 205,589 Kiwi visitors in 2019, according to Stats.NZ.

However, travel from New Zealand to the US looks like it’s off the list until 2021 at the earliest.

And even then, many New Zealanders will be reluctant to head there, given the messy US response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there’s still a bit of work to do before a trans-Tasman travel bubble can open. Picture: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sis in talks with New Zealand about the trans-Tasman travel bubble. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAPSource:AAP

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That makes Australia the obvious alternative choice, especially given plans for a trans-Tasman travel bubble and the ongoing popularity of Australia as a destination.

More than 50 per cent of New Zealand overseas travel is to Australia.

In 2019, New Zealanders made 1.4 million short-term trips to Australia and injected $2.6 billion into the local economy, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics and Tourism Australia.

The only country which contributes more tourists to our shores is China.

If just half of the New Zealanders who normally would head stateside come to Australia instead, that will be worth an extra $186 million in tourist spend.

That would be a welcome development for hotels, airlines, car hire companies and other tourism businesses which have seen their revenues evaporate almost entirely during lockdown.

The same pattern also applies in reverse.

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Australia is the obvious choice for New Zealanders to visit.Source:Supplied

Opening the trans-Tasman travel bubble could be a big step in our economic recovery.Source:Supplied

If half of the 1.5 million Australians who travel to Indonesia each year switch to New Zealand instead, that would add $2 billion into New Zealand tourism coffers.

One potential disappointment? Given the restricted travel options that will be available this year, bargain airfares aren’t guaranteed.

While fares between New Zealand and Australia have seen regular discounts in recent years, it’s still unclear whether that will be the case when flying returns to normal.

Angus Kidman is the editor-in-chief and travel guru for Finder.

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