Tourism in NZ
Tourism in New Zealand has historically been the biggest export sector of the national economy, it directly contributed NZ$16.2 billion (or 5.8%) of the country's GDP in the year ended March 2019.
The last official records show that in 2016 tourism supported 188,000 full-time-equivalent jobs (nearly 7.5% of New Zealand's workforce). The flow-on effects of tourism indirectly contribute a further 4.3% of GDP (or NZ$9.8 billion).
Despite New Zealand’s geographical isolation, international tourist spend accounted for 17.1% of New Zealand's export earnings (nearly NZ$12 billion).
International and domestic tourism contributed, in total, NZ$34 billion to New Zealand's economy every year as of 2017.
New Zealand’s reputation a travel destination
In November 2012 readers of the UK newspaper The Telegraph voted New Zealand the best country in the world to go to on holiday.
In 2019 Mercer award Auckland 3rd place as the world’s most liveable city.
New Zealand is a popular travel and backpacking destination for most countries. Below highlights the top 12 countries for international visitor arrivals to New Zealand in terms of their nationality:
Australia accounts for 39.6 percent of New Zealand visitor arrivals. Broken down by state, New South Wales accounted for 533,681 visitors in 2019, followed by Queensland with 389,359 visitors, and Victoria with 368,710 visitors.
Of the top 12 nationalities, all except China and India are entitled to visa waivers, while all except the UK, Germany and India have non-stop flights to New Zealand.
How will Covid19 impact backpacker travelling to and working in New Zealand as well as Tourism in general?
The global pandemic of Covid19 has led to the closure of the borders in New Zealand. This approach has enabled New Zealand to eliminate coronavirus from its shores. But the only travellers allowed back into the country (after a 2 week quarantine) are returning kiwis based overseas.
New Zealand is also hosting the Americas Cup in Auckland. The regatta starts in the summer, ending early autumn. The country and city have invested huge sums of money for this event, with expectation of return from the visitors arriving to watch the event. The decision on whether this goes ahead is expected soon.
The international tourism & backpacker market has been completely shut-down. How long this will continue is uncertain. There have been talks of extending New Zealand’s bubble with other countries who have eliminated the virus as well, or were never impacted. At present, this only constitutes a few South Pacific Island nations. From a Tourism perspective, this would see more kiwis travelling to those destinations on holiday, than vice versa.
Which nation’s backpackers stay for the longest in NZ?
The vast majority of international backpackers travelling and working around New Zealand (those that stay and work for 3 months – 1 year) are from USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, France, Israel & South Africa. Australians visit NZ the most, but tend not to ‘backpack’ due to their close proximity, more visit specific destinations at a time on short breaks.
The problem is that all these countries are impacted by Covid19, so the backpacking scene in NZ is likely to be impacted for the remainder of 2020, but probably through the NZ summer months (high season) of Dec-Feb 2021.
Backpackers who wish to work in New Zealand must obtain the correct WHV requirements – more information can be found on the link below regarding each countries requirements to qualify.
Working holiday visas are available to young people, usually aged 18 to 30, but 18 to 35 in a select few countries. They let you travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months, or 23 months if you are from the UK or Canada. If you apply for a 23-month visa, you must provide a General Medical Certificate.
What typical work does a backpacker do?
Once a WHV is obtained, the vast majority of backpackers pick up seasonal low skilled work such as fruit picking, whilst travelling around NZ. Backpackers generally work in roles that kiwi businesses struggle to fill, or are in remote locations where the talent of work does not meet the demand.
Backpackers utilise job site boards to find work, or find employment through the hostel systems in NZ, such as www.bbh.co.nz
What gigexchange can offer backpackers travelling and working around NZ, is a digital platform that allows the backpacker to build their online reputation, whilst in the country, to grow their brand and utilise their skills to work on more relevant gigs and jobs, at times and locations that suit their needs.
As a global marketplace, you can even build your reputation in your country prior to travelling. Removing the ‘kiwi experience’ in many cases.
The value international backpackers bring to NZ workforce.
Backpackers working in NZ bring short-term value in filling many season roles throughout regional NZ. But studies have found many backpackers enjoy New Zealand lifestyle so much, they apply and obtain citizenship and never leave. But also, many backpackers return to their home countries, but begin immigration application later down the line, eventually moving to New Zealand with their new family. These new migrants are usually highly skilled and bring huge value to the NZ economy.
Who knows what the future holds post Covid19, but when our borders open up again, we look forward to welcoming international visitors again.