Details and data about Marlborough's visitor economy.

Marlborough's performance

Marlborough's performance
The Kaikoura earthquake on 14 November 2016 and the resulting closure of key access route State Highway 1 still has residual effects on travel patterns for Marlborough with repercussions being felt throughout 2017 and 2018. Visitor flows to the Top of the South are still in flux post and comparisons between previous years are difficult as we measure against pre and post-earthquake numbers.
Despite this the total visitor spend in Marlborough year end March 2019 was $394 million with an increase of 2% on previous year . Domestic visitation performed well despite Easter falling in April for 2019, and the cruise sector continues to grow providing opportunities to create Marlborough advocates and repeat visitation

Visitors to Marlborough spent an estimated:
$124 million on transport, tours and experiences
$63 million at restaurants, cafes and bars
$66 million in retail stores
$48 million on alcohol, food and beverages
$40 million on fuel and automotive services
$53 million on accommodation

Domestic visitors spent a total of $262.84 million in Marlborough to year end March 2019 up 3.2% on previous year.

International visitors spent a total of $130.66 million in Marlborough to year end March 2019 decrease of 1.9% on the previous year.

Smart and Connected Visitor Economy Growth Plan

The Smart and Connected Visitor Economy Growth Plan outlines the vision and direction for Marlborough’s visitor economy, and looks at what is needed for the region to grow earnings from visitor spend.

This Plan evolved from the outputs of the Marlborough - Smart and Connected economic development vision. It has been developed through extensive community and sector consultation overlaid with industry knowledge and expertise to create a cohesive plan that is regionally supported.

It defines Marlborough’s natural advantages, competitive advantage and values into the visitor positioning that will convey that Marlborough is a desirable visitor destination offering an experience that is authentically Marlborough.

The Plan provides a foundation for informed regional infrastructure decisions and timing, and provides focus for industry and cross sector cooperation that will collectively build the resource base and capability of the region to achieve growth from the visitor economy. It also underpins the marketing activities of the region’s tourism agency, Destination Marlborough, to position and promote Marlborough as a desirable visitor destination.

Data sources

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) manages New Zealand tourism's core data set which includes data that is available at a regional level.

Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates (MRTE) 

The RTIs measure the change in level of expenditure of both international and domestic travellers in New Zealand by region. The data is based on electronic card transactions.
This data is released monthly.

Business Events Research Programme (BERP)
The BERP monitors and benchmarks the performance of more than 300 professional conferencing and meeting venues in New Zealand. This data is published quarterly.

At a national level
International tourism forecasts
MBIE’s forecasts provide expectations on the future tourism demand in New Zealand and help support the tourism sector and government in decision making and planning. The forecasts are based on econometric modelling, current trends, and expert industry judgement from a technical moderation committee.
Frequency: Annual


DGiT is an innovative online tool to help tourism operators and Regional Tourism Organisations maximise the value they get out of domestic tourism.

Colmar Brunton was contracted to undertake research and develop the online tool, which included surveying 5,901 Kiwis on their leisure travel habits to understand the different types of domestic travellers, including their motivations for travel.

Accommodation Data Programme

The Accommodation Data Programme (ADP) is a new ‘by industry, for industry’ research programme designed to meet the needs of accommodation providers and industry representatives in New Zealand. The ADP collects a small amount of data from accommodation providers each month, collates it, and then publishes reports that can be used to benchmark performance and monitor the industry.

The ADP is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and managed by NZ tourism data experts Fresh Info.


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8 Sinclair Street
Blenheim 7201

Monday - Friday 8.30am-5pm
Phone +64 3 577 5523
Fax +64 3 577 5530


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