Sound and up-to-date research into air transport services, travel and spending patterns is required so that effective strategic regional planning can be carried out.

There are significant infrastructural challenges, and rapid changes in visitor numbers and travel patterns which all need to be better understood before they can be managed and contribute towards maximising tourism benefits in Southland.

The Air Travel Patterns research aligns with Venture Southland's strategic goal to be the leader in providing regional indicators, statistics and information to allow informed decisions to be made.

Both Southland businesses and residents participated in the research. The research sample included 238 online survey responses gathered from Southland businesses, and 886 people were surveyed about their personal travel either online or through one-on-one interviews throughout Southland.

The key findings of this research include:

  • Approximately 57% of all air travel by Southland residents and businesses departs out of Invercargill Airport. This represents 132,386 return flights.
  • 43% of Southland businesses and resident travellers depart and arrive through other airports, representing 100,553 flights.
  • 77% of all Southland business flight depart from Invercargill Airport and 46% of all Southland resident personal travel flights depart from Invercargill Airport.
  • 91% of business travellers have departed from Invercargill Airport at least once in the last 2 years compared to 70% of personal travellers.
  • Queenstown Airport accounts for 24% of the Southland personal air travel market and 10% of the Southland business air travel market.
  • The key reasons cited by both business and personal travellers for using Queenstown and Dunedin Airports include price, direct flights and better flight schedules.
  • 41% of business travellers and 15% of personal travellers experienced flight cancellations over the past 2 years.
  • 71% of business travellers and 45% of personal travellers experienced flight delays over the past 2 years.

Building on this survey, three further pieces of work were proposed:

1. Assessment of Air Passenger Transport Services, updating the date Air Demand Survey 2009;
2. Travel Patterns Insight Report, and
3. Retail, Tourism and Event Spending Analysis Tool.

Assessment of Air Travel Services

This assessment provided up to date analysis of travel patterns through Invercargill Airport in comparison with other regional centres. It also identified factors influencing air travel decisions and potential changes which would increase travel from Invercargill Airport.

Travel Patterns Insight Report

A better understanding of travel patterns is required to attract more visitors to Southland from key points of entry into the South Island such as Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch.

Insights are also needed to encourage tourists visiting popular locations such as Milford Sound, to also explore other parts of the region. The work Venture Southland has done in analysing GeoZone meta data which reviews the movement of campervans has given valuable insight into the Free Independent Travel (FIT) market and growth in freedom camping.

Similar analysis is required for other customer groups across the following areas:

  • Identification of country or region of origin of visitors
  • Visitor flows by day and by time of day in the urban centres (Invercargill, Gore, Te Anau)
  • Length of stay within the region
  • Daily travel patterns for numbers of locals leaving region

Retail, Tourism and Event Spending Analysis

Venture Southland is using MarketView, a tool that uses Paymark electronic transaction data (75% of the NZ electronic transaction market) and BNZ customer spending data to produce regional and granulated spending information. This information includes the country of origin for international customers and regional origin for NZ customers (BNZ only) and retail spend by segment. MarketView allows easy and flexible analysis of a range of variables which can be used to assess trends in retail, tourism and events spending.

These pieces of work will provide valuable insight into the travel patterns of Southlanders and visitors to the region.

Do you run a tourism business? If you would like to find out more about tourism data and statistics which are relevant to your business contact:

For further information contact
Steve Canny - Venture Southland

Steve Canny

Group Manager Business and Strategic Projects