The latest tourism industry insights and international travel statistics in our March 2024 Destination Insights report. Find out about Gisborne's tourism recovery, international visitor trends, and updates on tourism data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) and Stats NZ. Stay informed and make data-driven decisions for your tourism business.


Gisborne's tourism industry showed signs of recovery in March 2024, with a mixed picture across different sectors.


  • Strong growth in guest nights (+52%) compared to March 2023 (impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle).
  • Year-on-year comparisons are skewed due to 2023's low numbers.
  • Compared to March 2022 (pre-cyclone): 
    • Domestic visitor usage increased significantly (+34%).
    • International visitor demand grew even stronger (+72% vs March 2023).
  • The number of active accommodation establishments increased by 5%.
  • Opotiki district saw the strongest growth (+113% guest arrivals, average stay increased to 3 days). 


  • Slight increase in tourism industry jobs (+2%).
  • Flat overall employment earnings compared to March 2023 (national trend).
  • The reason for flat earnings is unclear (hourly rate vs. work hours).
  • Growth in "core" tourism sectors: 
    • Activity, Travel & Tour Services (+25%)
    • Transport Services (+11%)
  • Accommodation & Food/Beverage Services flat (more reliant on local spending).

Short-Term Rentals:

  • Occupancy peaked at 94% on 27 March (Wednesday before Easter weekend). 


  • Recovery in the accommodation sector, particularly with international visitors.
  • Focus on core tourism experiences driving employment growth.
  • Positive signs for the Tairāwhiti tourism industry.


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International Travel Statistics

Statistics New Zealand's latest figures for March 2024 reveal a positive trend in international visitor arrivals, inching closer to pre-pandemic levels. Here's a closer look at the key takeaways:

Marching Towards Recovery: Overall visitor arrivals reached 90% of March 2019 figures, indicating a steady climb back to normalcy.

Market Momentum: Key markets like Australia (39%), the United States (16%), and the United Kingdom (6%) continue to show positive growth. Notably, Australia remains the leading source of visitors.

China Gains Ground: While not quite back to pre-pandemic levels (5% compared to 11% in 2019), China is showing significant progress, with a 10,000 visitor increase compared to March 2023.

Emerging Markets Shine: South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan saw notable visitor increases, showcasing a more diversified tourist landscape.

Easter Effect: The late March placement of Easter in 2024 likely contributed to the positive visitor numbers.

Looking Ahead: The year-to-date figures paint an optimistic picture. The US is recovering at an impressive 90% compared to January-March 2019, with strong performances from India (95%) and Australia (85%).


Overall, March 2024 visitor arrivals solidify New Zealand's tourism recovery. The industry can look forward to a continued upward trajectory, focusing on established and emerging markets.


International travel: March 2024 Stats NZ


Tourism Data Update

This week, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) – which, along with Stats NZ, provides the industry's key statistics – issued a positive update on tourism data.  

The department is still working to find a way to restore the Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates (MRTE) data series, which provides insight into regional tourism activity and spending.  

The MRTE paused in February, and in the meantime, MBIE said it would publish new Tourism Electronic Card Transaction (TECT) data from 31 May 2024.  

"While not as comprehensive as the MRTE, it will provide some information to the sector while we explore a more robust and permanent solution," the department said. 

The TECT series will be backdated to October 2023 so there will be no gaps with TECT's last published data. 

MBIE also reassured the industry that Stats NZ would continue to produce the annual Tourism Satellite Account, with the next one due in February next year. 

"We understand that there has been some concern in the sector that, following the closure of Data Ventures, Stats NZ would re-evaluate other core statistics, potentially leading to major gaps in the tourism data system," the department said.