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A boom in domestic tourism in Queenstown could cushion the damage of the border closure. Photo: Getty
A boom in domestic tourism in Queenstown could cushion the damage of the border closure. Photo: Getty

BusinessMay 16, 2020

Exclusive: New poll offers hope for devastated tourism industry

A boom in domestic tourism in Queenstown could cushion the damage of the border closure. Photo: Getty
A boom in domestic tourism in Queenstown could cushion the damage of the border closure. Photo: Getty

There’s widespread appetite for domestic tourism, while public support for the alert level two shift is high.

New Zealand tourism could be handed a lifeline if New Zealanders take the domestic holidays they say they will in the next three months.

In a new Stickybeak survey, 42% said they intend to holiday in New Zealand outside the region they live in within the next quarter. Tourism operators hit by the closure of borders and counting on those who traditionally took winter breaks abroad will be buoyed by the news, with Queenstown and Wellington particularly popular.

More good news for the tourism sector comes in the broad support for the trans-Tasman bubble. 59% are in favour, suggesting, if Australian health statistics continue to parallel those of New Zealand, a groundswell in support of future moves to open the border to Australians.

Our fourth nationally representative Covid-19 survey, which went into the field an hour after the prime minister’s announcement of the move to alert level two and completed just before the budget announcement on Thursday, shows we are broadly positive about a return to school and work.

We even seem relaxed about personal finances, though the potential for a second wave of the virus worries a lot of people.

A quarter of those who have children say they are “ecstatic” about their return to school compared to only 8% being “very sad”. Homeschooling appears to have taken its toll.

Perhaps more surprising is that 80% of us are “happy” or “very happy” about returning to work, four times the number that is unhappy or very unhappy.

That said, working from home does look to have become a permanent part of the employment landscape as 51% of those of us that were in lockdown would like to spend more time working from home. That is a big percentage and now people have become skilled with the technology and home arrangements needed to make this work, any employer competing for talent in the future will need to build this into their offer to be attractive. The flow-on effects in terms of office space, parking and business culture will be profound.

In The Spinoff readers’ poll, almost 70% said they would like to work from home more often which illustrates that for some groups this is now almost a fundamental working expectation.

The government wage subsidy and the broad consensus around supporting jobs and businesses appear to have allayed some of the nation’s financial fears as only 14% say their personal finances will be affected “a lot” by the pandemic with 29% saying they will not be affected at all. The extension of the wage subsidy and the $50 billion recovery package in the budget were announced subsequent to our poll, so it is reasonable to that level of comfort may even have increased. That is good news for economic prospects given the critical function of consumer confidence in resuscitating the economy.

There is considerable fear about a second wave of the virus, however, with  57% saying they are concerned. This follows Singapore’s re-entry into lockdown and recent outbreaks in South Korea where, like New Zealand, the virus was thought to have been brought under control.

The big political call of the month, the move to alert level two was judged by 67% of respondents to be “about right” with only 6% saying it was “too late” despite the increasing volume of media commentary in support of that view.

The government continues score very highly for its response. This week 84% commend the response. This is the fourth time we have recorded a score of 80% or more and other pollsters have published similar results.

About the study

Respondents were self-selecting participants, recruited via Facebook and Instagram through ads targeted at 32 separate demographic sub-sets in New Zealand

A total of n=605 sample was achieved of adults in New Zealand.

Results in this report are weighted by age, gender and region to statistics from the 2018 Census.

For a random sample of this size and after accounting for weighting the maximum sampling error (using 95% confidence) is approximately ±4.8%.

The study went into the field on Monday 11 May and was completed Wednesday 13 May.

About Stickybeak

Stickybeak is a New Zealand startup launched globally last June, that uses chatbots to make quantitative market research more conversational and therefore less boring and even fun for respondents. Unlike conventional research which uses panels of professional paid responders, Stickybeak recruits unique respondents fresh for each survey via social media.

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