Hospitality Business Magazine

Holiday parks grateful for Kiwi support

Kiwi holidaymakers have helped keep hundreds of people in work and supported the survival of holiday parks around the country, new statistics show.

Accommodation statistics for January show that more New Zealanders than ever have been enjoying a traditional Kiwi summer holiday since the pandemic started in 2020.

“We have always had a solid base of domestic visitors and this base has grown over the peak periods in the last two years,” Holiday Parks New Zealand Chief Executive Fergus Brown says.

HPNZ represents 280 holiday parks around New Zealand. These parks employed about 2500 people pre-COVID and contribute millions of dollars to their local communities.

In January 2019, holiday parks recorded 1.7 million guest nights of which 412,000 were international visitors.

No data is available for January 2020 but in January 2021, holiday parks had 1.8 million guest nights – all domestic. This fell slightly in January 2022 to 1.7 million guest nights, likely due to the move to Red took effect on 23 January 2022.

Areas that did well are those close to major population bases and those that have loyal repeat visitors. These included Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Taupō, Hanmer Springs and Nelson Tasman.

However, some regions such as the West Coast, Queenstown, Fiordland and Kaikōura continued to be severely impacted by the lack of international visitors, Mr Brown says.

The holiday park sector is grateful for the ongoing support of Kiwis and will be working hard to encourage them to return in future. But they still desperately need international travellers who would traditionally visit through February-April, after New Zealanders have gone back to work and school, he says.

Pre COVID, holiday parks’ guest nights comprised 65% domestic and 35% international visitors, with many of the international visitors being high spending travellers from Europe and Australia.

“We are looking forward to being able to welcome back international holidaymakers. One good January is not enough to support a business through the other 11 months. We need our borders to reopen as soon as possible,” Mr Brown says.