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NZ costs too much, say international visitors

A high dollar and over-priced tourist attractions, food and accommodation threatens repeat business from visitors.

Tourism New Zealand's latest visitor experience monitor, which surveyed 4500 international tourists visiting friends and family in the past year, showsmost remain highly satisfied with the New Zealand experience.

But the number of people "very likely" to recommend the country to others has dropped by 5% over the last four years.

Ninety six percent of tourists say they are still "likely" to recommend New Zealand – unchanged since the last survey.

Tourism NZ ceo Kevin Bowler admits there is no room for complacency given a number of challenges facing the industry.

According to Statistics NZ, 2.63 million people visited up to August, an increase of 133,000 on the previous year.

On average, visitors from the USA, Britain and Germany are most satisfied with their holiday experience, while Korean travellers are the least. Japanese travellers are significantly more satisfied this past year, than in the revious 12 months.

“Visitor satisfaction with the price of activities, food and beverage and accommodation has decreased,” Mr Bowler says.

The cost of activities has become a key visitor consideration and they are now participating in 14% fewer Kiwi adventures than they were two years ago.

New Zealand’s natural environment continues to receive the highest overall satisfaction rating of 9 out of 10, consistent with last year's results.

Mr Bowler says experiencing natural scenery remains a favourite for travellers, with activities such as bush walks, mountain climbing and photography resulting in the highest levels of satisfaction.

Digital media is playing an increasingly more important role in New Zealand tourism and is one area to focus on in the future. He says an increasing number of visitors are taking to social media to share their experiences both while travelling and after they return home.

“This illustrates the growing importance of digital technology within the travel industry. Tourism New Zealand has placed a large focus on developing our digital presence, undertaking extensive work on our consumer site to better meet visitors' needs online.”

More by Blair Cunningham

Comments and questions

And it will drop further if we allow the Ozzies to have their say in the promotion of our company.

Not too surprising, when one must budget AT LEAST $150 per person per activity for most activities, and quite a bit more for some.

Just back from taking family to USA - Disneyland, universal studios and legoland......I wish that only cost $150 per person per activity ! Get real......

"Disneyland, universal studios and legoland"
Hardly comparing apples are you?
Think of the money you could have saved taking the kids to rainbows end then a movie after...Mr popular yeah right.

Yes this is true: october 2012

Visitors from the UK we have hosted are consistent in saying our supermarket food prices are much higher (even for stuff locally produced). Go figure.

After 6 weeks in Europe I would say New Zealand is over priced in every single aspect, except cell phones. A trip to Carrefour supermarket in Italy costs around 1/3 of a trip to the supermarket in New Zealand. Crazy considering some of the products are New Zealand made. There is far to much over pricing in New Zealand.

Gosh. It took you six weeks in Europe to figure out that NZ is overpriced. Are you prepared to acknowledge that your property is probably overpriced by at least 50% as well?

accomodation and transport probably cheaper here than other european and north american 1st world countries but food, drink, clothing, shoes, sun glasses, cars, airfares, the list goes on, are clearly cheaper by some margin. Compare the price of a new car in australia with same model in NZ. We are not that much further to ship!!

Brooks Glucina 9 Running Shoes: $299: Shoe Clinic, Newmarket
USA, on-line order inc. delivery $95. That's right, NZD 95!!!

Weber Kettle BBQ One-Touch Gold : RRP$499
eBay: USD120

Sainsbury Mozzarella cheese 44p / 125gm
Countdown $7.75 / 250gm

It's not surprising really, I understand retailers like Rebel Sport have a policy of marking everything up by a minimum of 80%.

Have just returned from 3 months touring Europe & I agree with the previous comments on supermarket prices. Hard to understand when there were items from Aust & NZ cheaper than what we pay for them here.

Actually it is quite easy to understand why. In NZ just two companies, Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises, control nearly all the supermarkets in the country. That's called a duopoly, basically a cartel. Then there's the monopoly called Fonterra that controls almost all of the dairy production in NZ. The supermarkets here have no competition and can pretty much dictate what the people of NZ pay at the checkout. Their task is made easier by the very nature of NZers: uncomplaining, gullible, not used to good service and good value and easily cowed by authority.

Don't listen to the whinging Poms just because the backside has dropped out of the pound because of their one horse economy at Liverpool Street.

Sorry to distract from the overpricing but one of the keys to me here is the increase use of social media (no surprise really) and the empahsis this puts on ensuring our service to guests is excellent. It only takes one grumpy server for a facebook post and a negative mark on New Zealand. Naturally this applies to pricing too but service is an important part of it. If someone pays more for something but gets great service, in my view, they are less likely to focus on the price and more on the time they had and the service they recieve which equals a more favourable tweet!

generally one tips overseas 10-15% for service. If the product price exceeds that margin here then....

Not sure what special sevice one gets at a supermarket though.

Exchange rates have a lot to do with the prices that our visitors experience, and with how far our dollar goes when we travel.

I was astounded to find food in german and Uk supermarkets low by comparison with what we pay here. Ditto the Brooks shoes and also ecco sandals that cost 89 euro are $240 here - its an absolute rip-off and that is what is driving online shopping - retailers need to get real. I know kiwis who have turned up at some our local attractions and been completely stunned at the rorting that is going on.

Greed kills the golden goose for the sake of one overegged egg...

Things cost more because there are less people here, the amount of people living in London alone is twice the entire population of NZ.

Its a double edged knife really because you want the lower prices, but do you really want the extra 60 million people here destroying the beautiful NZ environment?

That's simply not true. The fact that NZ made dairy products and lamb cuts are still cheaper, after freight, handling and distribution costs, in the UK than in NZ should tell you that some people in NZ are making a lot of money at the expense of an unquestioning public. The people in question are also coming up with inventive excuses as to why this is just to keep the scam going. Why do Chinese made goods sell for high prices in NZ? Icebreaker outsourced production to China, ostensibly to be competitive ("because everyone else was doing it"). Did they pass on the cost savings of making their stuff in China to their loyal customers? Hell no. They continue to sell their stuff at eye-watering prices (even their discount prices are rich), yet market themselves as this environmentally sensitive "Pure NZ" brand. I wonder how the customers of Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci would react is they farmed out manufacturing to China to widen their profit margins and kept their prices at "Made in France" rates.
Other reasons for the prices charged in Kiwiland include the supermarket duopoly, the outsized rents charged by monopolistic shopping malls to their tenants, costs that are generally passed on to consumers and Kiwis ongoing addiction to credit and just general greed.

For all our sakes I hope that it is not necessary for 60 million people to move here to reduce costs! Cannot believe that someone would actually think that, let alone write it.

The truth is that the cost of living here is extremely high when you compare it against the average income - exchange rate does not apply when you earn kiwi dollars and spend the same. The fact that the cost remains so high is largely because we all complain but never actually do anything about it. I wish I had the solution but I dont. I can say that there are alot of New Zealand produced products, such as icebreaker and NZ wines, that you can still buy alot cheaper overseas than you can here so its ridiculous to say that the cost is inflated due to the small population and geography.

How do you explain the difference in the cost of Mozzarella cheese mentioned above in comment #10 when we are supposed to be the world leader in dairy ?

I have advised my sister in the UK not to visit New Zealand. as it is too dear. I have always believed NZ overpriced and it always has been - regardless of where the dollar is . Accommodation and sites/attractions are expensive and not value for money. Living here we find it cheaper to holiday overseas.

@19: There are millions more people buying it from Sainsbury's, which means Sainsbury's can afford to have a lower price. They will also pay less from their suppliers because they are purchasing a HUGE amount to stock 1,012 different stores across the UK. Countdown on the other hand only has 133 locations around NZ, they just cannot compete price wise because there just aren't as many customers.

Also if something is considered the "world leader" in something, then you should be expecting to pay more for it because it is a superior product, the best in the world.

Not that I am trying to defend high prices, its just another one of those things that's a lot more complicated then people think it is,

Thank you for that explanation Fontera.