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Tourism Electronic Card Transaction spend for December 2021 released

February 17, 2022

Key Points

Strong annual growth in domestic TECT spend in all regions

Domestic tourism electronic card transaction (TECT) spend was up 12% in the year-ended December 2021 compared with the same period in the previous year. Domestic TECT spend was also up 9% on pre-COVID levels in the year-ended December 2019.

Figure 1 reflects domestic TECT spend increased in all regions in the 2021 calendar year compared with 2020. Due to higher travel restrictions than rest of the country because of the Delta outbreak, the lowest annual growth in domestic tourism card expenditure was experienced by the three North Island regions of Auckland, Waikato and Northland (up 2%, 8% and 11% respectively). Auckland was also the only region to experience a decline in percentage change in domestic spend (down 12%) from year-ended December 2019. South Island destinations showed the strongest increases in domestic spend compared with the year-ended December 2020. The Tasman region had the highest annual increase (up 31%) in domestic spend from year-ended December 2020, followed by Marlborough (up 27%) and Southland (up 22%).

Monthly domestic electronic card spend continued to contract

Monthly domestic TECT spend for December 2021 was down 5% on December 2020 (as shown in Figure 1). The Auckland and Gisborne regions experienced the largest decrease in the domestic tourism spending (both down 21%), driving the overall decrease. These two regions were also the only regions showing a decline in monthly domestic spending compared with pre-COVID levels in December 2019 (both down 11%). This decrease can be attributed to highly restricted travel into and within Auckland during the first half of the month of December 2021. Gisborne was under the Red traffic light setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) for the month of December. Taranaki stood at the top for monthly spend growth, showing a 8% increase from the month of December in the previous year.

Figure 1: Percentage change in domestic tourism electronic card spend for the year-ended and month of December 2021 compared to previous years, by region

Source: Tourism Electronic Card Transactions, MBIE

Food and beverage services drove growth domestic tourism card spend

Most sub-sectors saw an increase in domestic tourism card spend in the year-ended December 2021. Food and beverage services had the largest increase (up 15%) in domestic TECT spend in the year-ended December 2021 compared with the previous year. Retail sales and other tourism products saw a double-digit increase from the same period last year, up by 13% and 12% respectively (as shown in Table 1).

The table below shows that most sub-sectors within the tourism sector (except for accommodation services and other passenger transport) signal recovery in terms of growth in domestic spend compared with pre-COVID period levels in 2019.

Table 1: Percentage change in domestic tourism electronic card spend for the year to December 2021 compared with previous years, by product

Product Percentage change in domestic tourism electronic card spend for year-ended December-2021 compared with...
Year to December-2020 Year to December-2019

Source: Tourism Electronic Card Transactions, MBIE

International spend remained low with ongoing border restrictions

As expected with the border restrictions, international spend was down 44% on the December 2020 year, and down 72% on 2019.

We advise caution when using the TECT data

We recommend that users do not add domestic and international totals together. They should be used separately, because electronic card transactions (ECTs) in each market represent a different proportion of total tourism spend, meaning they cannot be directly compared. More information can be found here.

The Sustainable Tourism Explorer has been updated with the new TECT data

TECT data is now available in the STE in the form of interactive graphs. As well as visualising the data, you also have the ability to customise the graphs and can download them and the related data. Pivot tables are still available in the usual link to the TECT website.

The latest TECT data can be found in the Sustainable Tourism Explorer in the reliance on tourism section of the region area. Breakdowns include:

The next update

Our next stakeholder update highlighting January 2022 results will be in early March.