Australians visiting friends and family are valuable to New Zealand tourism after all.
The notion that Aussies visiting friends and relatives (VFR) are expats who stay put and mothball their wallets has been challenged in a new study for Auckland Airport’s International Travel Summit.
In fact, they get out and about, use paid accommodation and transport, and are keen to explore shops, bars, restaurants and activities.
“Nearly half of the Australian VFR market are not Kiwis visiting home, they’re looking for an experience that has typical attributes of a holiday,” said Auckland Airport spokesperson Scott Tasker.
“As a result, they spend more per day, per person than a typical VFR visitor.”
Mr Tasker even goes so far as to describe our antipodean cousins as a “highly valuable” market ripe for exploitation during the off-peak season.
“While the average VFR visitor doesn’t spend as much as the average holiday visitor, significant value can still be derived from large segments of this market across the whole year rather than in peak periods.”
Australian VFR visitors also stimulate spending and domestic tourism among their Kiwi hosts.
Mr Tasker says the key difference between the VFR market and the holiday market is that the VFR market is stimulated largely by emotive-based messages about connection, rather than destination marketing.
The 2018 travel summit focused on the challenge of promoting New Zealand’s year-round visitation, with a particular need to stimulate demand in the cooler months when there are fewer tailored product offerings and less marketing activity.