Holiday park guests offer silver lining to local businesses

Published: Fri 4 Dec 2020 10:42 AM
Chief Executive Fergus Brown
Holiday park owners are encouraging their guests to support local businesses by trying something new this summer.
“A lot of businesses will be relying on New Zealanders’ support over the next few months,” says Holiday Parks New Zealand CE Fergus Brown. “As we approach our first year without international visitors—and with no certainty around when the borders will open—Kiwis’ support this summer will be make or break for many, especially small businesses.”
Mr Brown hopes holiday park visitors will take advantage of the quieter-than-usual summer season by ticking off some of the country’s must-do activities.
“Whether it’s a cruise in the Bay of Islands, a visit to a local museum or a trip to Hobbiton, it’s a win-win for holiday park guests who will be getting a new experience knowing their holiday spending is helping to save jobs.”
Booking ahead will also be crucial to these businesses, which have been struggling with staffing due to the lack of international visitors, says Mr Brown. Outside of summer, New Zealanders tend to travel only at weekends and school holidays, making it difficult to retain staff throughout quieter periods.
“By pre-booking paid activities and attractions, visitors will be adding considerable value to local communities and keeping locals employed.”
In January, holiday parks account for more guest nights than any other commercial accommodation provider. A record numbers of visitors are expected at holiday parks throughout the country this summer, with over 1.7 million guest nights booked in January 2020. Of these, approximately 1.3 million guest nights are New Zealand residents.
Holiday parks in the most popular summer holiday destinations are already booked out over Christmas and New Year, but Mr Brown says people should consider holidaying later in the season if they can. “From February, businesses will really be noticing the loss of international visitors, so a boost from the Kiwi market would support their businesses even more.”
Many tourism operators have been able to expand their offerings to this market and have deals and experiences ready for New Zealand families travelling over the whole summer, he says.
Key facts:
• The holiday park sector provides 36% of New Zealand’s commercial accommodation capacity and 20% of commercial guest nights
• In the year ended September 2019 holiday parks hosted 8.5 million guest nights up 3% over the previous year
• Guest nights to holiday parks are made up of 35% international visitors and 65% domestic visitors
• While staying at holiday parks guests contribute over $1 billion in direct expenditure to local communities
• Approximately $612 million (60%) of the expenditure is from domestic travellers with the balance of $405 million (40%) spent by international travellers.
• Expenditure by international visitors contributes directly to New Zealand’s export earnings.

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