Making sense of the numbers - unravelling regional insight

In the May 2017 issue of Making sense of the numbers, TIA Insight Specialist Steve Riley discusses what regional insight is available and how it can help with capacity and investment decisions.

Download the full document - Unravelling regional insight - including figures and tables that go into more detail on how you can use this insight to help with business decision-making.


While national-level insight provides a clear picture of how the tourism industry performs in New Zealand, a regional insight view is also important to better understand performance at a micro-level. This can help identify the Tourism 2025 economic aspirations of a region and what capacity and investment decisions need to be made based on current regional trends.

Regional insight can be defined as insight that tells the tourism story at a more local level. For example, it could be to understand how your regional spend compares with other regions, or to determine the regional make-up of the tourism industry, e.g. the mix of accommodation, transport and other tourism spend.

Regional tourism insight can generally be defined at the Regional Tourism Organisation, Regional Council and Territorial Authority level. There are also ways this data can be provided at an electorate boundary level.

A high level view of the regional insight available to tourism operators follows. We acknowledge that the list is not exhaustive and that there are a number of other regional data sources that are not attributed in this report.

Regional expenditure data

The Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates are calculated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment from electronic and credit card transactions. The results are released within a month after the reference period, for example March results are released by the end of April. The MRTEs measure the level of spending by international and domestic visitors in regions across New Zealand.

Regional expenditure data can be viewed in various ways depending on the research question. For example, an accommodation provider in Wellington might want to understand how much visitors in their region spend on accommodation and how this compares to surrounding regions. 

Commercial Accommodation Monitor

The Commercial Accommodation Monitor measures regional trends of commercial accommodation across New Zealand regions. This includes measures of international and domestic visitor guest nights and accommodation capacity levels. The CAM is produced monthly by MBIE.


Regional tourism businesses

Regional data from Infometrics, provided through ServiceIQ identifies the number of tourism business units across the 16 regions. The largest number of business units are recorded in the Auckland region (10,861, or 35% of tourism business units nationally). The Gisborne region has the smallest number of business units (248 or 0.8% of tourism businesses in New Zealand).  


Domestic Growth Insight Tool (DGiT)

The DGiT tool was released by TIA and a Domestic Tourism Working Group in November 2016. This interactive online tool is designed to help tourism businesses and RTOs identify their target domestic audiences and the best way to market to them.


How regions are using regional insight to inform long term aspirations

While the Tourism 2025 $41 billion aspirational goal is relevant for the regions, it is also important they drive their own regional framework that resonates with local operators and broader industry stakeholders.

 This was recently achieved by the Dunedin Host Growth Framework with their clear articulation of their aspirational goals at a regional level. A number of other regions have adopted a similar approach, such as Destination Coromandel’s Beyond 2025.


Insight Gaps

 It is acknowledged that there are a number of identifiable gaps in the current data available at a regional level. This includes a set of regional forecasts, domestic and international volumes and visitor nights by region. This is currently being considered as part of TIA’s Insight Framework and government plans for tourism insight.