Statistics & Research for the Visitor Economy

Rotorua tourism rebuilding after lockdown

Rotorua visitor monitors recorded declines for the month of August 2020 over the same month of the previous year. Domestic expenditure in Rotorua declined 6 percent to $31.9 million while international expenditure declined 83 percent to $3.1 million.  Rotorua's commercial accommodation occupancy level for the month of August 2020 was 26 percent, with each of the sectors lagging their respective national benchmarks.
The decline in domestic expenditure was driven by the COVID-19 Auckland lockdown, which occurred on 12th August in response to a COVID-19 community transmission cluster in Auckland. Auckland moved to alert 3 restricting travel in/out of the city until 31st August, while the rest of New Zealand moved to alert 2 requiring social distancing. The alert levels in Auckland and New Zealand were progressively loosened throughout September and on 8th October Auckland joined the rest of New Zealand in returning to alert 1 with no social distancing requirements.
The decline in international expenditure was driven by the COVID-19 restrictions which occurred during the month of March: closing the New Zealand border to international visitors and placing New Zealand in lockdown.  COVID-19 travel restrictions on travellers from mainland China were first implemented at the New Zealand border on 2nd February and then over the following six weeks were broadened to include travellers from other countries and ultimately on 19th March, the New Zealand border was closed to all visitors and a week later New Zealand went into lockdown restricting inter-regional travel until mid-May.  The border remains closed to international visitors with no definitive date for reopening.
The New Zealand Government has made financial assistance available to businesses affected by the impacts of COVID-19. Find out more and/or apply for COVID-19 assistance at
While Rotorua is well known for its appeal to international visitors and well over half the visitors to the Rotorua Attractions and Activities Monitor sites are by international visitors, it is domestic visitors which contribute the largest proportion of visitor expenditure to the Rotorua economy. For the year ending August 2020, domestic visitor expenditure in Rotorua was $463 million versus $246 million by international visitors.
Rotorua has always actively promoted to its domestic visitor market, but while the New Zealand border remains closed is ramping up its domestic marketing activity further. Check out the increased focus on supporting local Rotorua businesses and getting New Zealanders to experience Rotorua’s world class tourism experiences at
Last updated 19 October 2020


Rotorua Tourism Key Facts

Compiled monthly by Destination Rotorua, the purpose of this fact sheet is to assist in preparing speeches and presentations.


Rotorua Tourism Snapshot Infographic

Compiled monthly by Destination Rotorua, the snapshot provides an infographical illustration of visitor activity occurring in the Rotorua region.


New Zealand Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates (MRTE)

Compiled monthly by MBIE, the MRTE quantifies the visitor expenditure in each of the regional tourism organisation regions, including Rotorua.


New Zealand Regional Economic Activity Report (REAR)

Compiled annually by MBIE, the REAR presents economic and visitor data on New Zealand’s regions, including Rotorua.


Rotorua Attraction & Activities Monitor (RAAM)

Compiled monthly by APR Consultants, the RAAM quantifies the collective visitor activity occurring at the businesses participating in the RAAM.

New Zealand Accommodation Data Programme (ADP)
Compiled monthly by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the ADP quantifies the visitor demand and capacity of commercial accommodation in each of the regions, including Rotorua. This programme commenced in July 2020 and replaced the CAM (below).

Rotorua Private Homes Monitor (PHM)

Compiled monthly by APR Consultants, the PHM quantifies the activity of visitors staying with friends and family in the private homes of Rotorua residents.


Rotorua Visitor Insights Programme (VIP)

VIP Infographic Snapshot,     VIP Full Report

Compiled quarterly by Angus and Associates, the VIP provides a profile of visitors to the region, consumer awareness of Rotorua communications, perceptions of the region, and appeal and propensity to visit Rotorua.


Domestic Growth in Tourism (DGiT)

DGiT is an innovative online tool to help tourism operators and regional tourism organisations maximise the value they get out of domestic tourism. Spearheaded by Tourism Industry Aotearoa, and funded by private and public sector industry representatives, Colmar Brunton was contracted to undertake research and develop the online tool, which included surveying 6,000 New Zealanders on their leisure travel habits to understand the different types of domestic travellers, including their motivations for travel. The online tool has many filters, including one to filter it to Rotorua.


New Zealand Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM) Discontinued September 2019

Compiled monthly by Statistics New Zealand, the CAM quantifies the visitor demand and capacity of commercial accommodation in each of the regions, including Rotorua. Click here>> for a Rotorua-specific analysis showing trends over the duration of the 20-year survey period.


New Zealand Business Events Activity Survey (BEAS) Discontinued June 2019

Compiled quarterly by MBIE, the BEAS quantifies business events activity occurring in each of the 14 participating regions, including Rotorua.


New Zealand International Visitor Arrivals (IVA)

Compiled monthly by Statistics NZ, the IVA quantifies the international visitor arrivals to each New Zealand airport, including Rotorua's, for the period when direct flights operated between Sydney and Rotorua (ie, December 2009 through April 2015).

Visit the MBIE website to access freely available New Zealand and regional tourism research and statistics.
Visit the Tourism New Zealand website to access freely available international market profiles and insights.

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While all care and diligence has been exercised in reporting the material on this page and its links, Destination Rotorua and Rotorua Lakes Council gives no warranty it is error free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use directly, or indirectly, of the information reported herewith.  Any decisions based on information reported this page and its links are made entirely at the reader's risk.  Before committing to significant business decisions, organisations/individuals are advised to seek professional assistance.

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