Research shows travellers from Australia visiting friends and family are valuable to New Zealand tourism

07 May 2018

Research from Auckland Airport’s International Travel Summit shows that travellers from Australia who are visiting friends and relatives (VFR) in New Zealand are highly valuable and a market that can be stimulated outside of peak visitor season.

For six years Auckland Airport has brought together travel and tourism leaders from throughout New Zealand to participate in an annual International Travel Summit, as an opportunity to contribute to a forum of topics that are of critical importance to the tourism sector.

Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial, Scott Tasker, says “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.”

This research challenges the notion that Australian VFR visitors are generally Kiwi expats, returning to spend a week at the family home and rarely participating in activities. In fact, these visitors 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. As a result, they spend more per day, per person than a typical VFR visitor,” says Mr Tasker. Australian VFR visitors also stimulate spending and domestic tourism among their New Zealand-based hosts. And they show a willingness to visit friends and relatives for short periods and during the off-peak visitor season.

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. Coupled with the inclination to travel during off-peak, this market is an attractive one and provides excellent opportunities to speak to both audiences in Australia and to hosts here in New Zealand.

The 2018 summit focused on the challenge of unlocking New Zealand’s year-round visitation, with a particular need to stimulate demand in the cooler months, where there is less tailored product offerings and marketing activity. You can find further insights at


For further information, please contact:

Auckland Airport Public Affairs
+64 27 406 3024