Chinese Tourism to New Zealand: A Case Study, Hulmes Court Bed and Breakfast Dunedin

by norman on November 22, 2012

A Huge Shift away from the English Speaking World to “Other Asia” by Norman Wood

Hulmes Court was founded in 1997 and is one of the largest bed and breakfasts in New Zealand.  It has had the same ownership structure and as such a continuity of data collection and analysis.  This article focuses in on the country of origin of guests to Hulmes Court looking particularly at two snap shots of data, guests staying in September and October 2003 as compared to guests staying in September and October 2012, 9 years later.  There is a huge and interesting shift.

Back a number of years ago Statistics New Zealand required accommodation providers to supply to the government department information on the country of origin of their guests .  Hulmes Court accurately and diligently collected this information.  It is interesting to note that I know of many accommodation providers that found it to be onerous, that the information, once analysed and supplied back was of no use and essentially worthless, and as such the accommodation providers just “made up” or at best had an educated guess at the figures.   Possibly because there was a significant degree of GIGO (garbage in garbage out) the information supplied was in part fictional, enough said about the waste of tax payers dollars, however, Hulmes Court’s information was accurate.  This information is no longer collected or analyzed, surprise, surprise (maybe it should be a surprise that this government department is still not collecting the fictional data).  However, we continued to collect and analyse our own data.

Looking now at our accurate data, during these same periods September/October 2003 and 2012 a similar number of people stayed, 610 in 2012 versus 547 in 2003, but the nationality of those guests could hardly be more different.  Back in 2003 468 (86%) were from the English speaking world of New Zealand (186), Australia (119), USA/Canada (95), UK (68).  Move 9 years forward, not really that much time, but it shows how fast the sands of global trends are moving, the English speaking guests of Hulmes Court has fallen to only 63%, the most startling thing is that New Zealand (243 guests) has grown, Australia has fallen a bit (71), but international travelers from the USA/Canada (52 guests down from 95) and especially the UK (25 down from 68) has had a huge fall.

But Hulmes Court continued to grow even though the traditional international markets of the USA and the UK collapsed.  How did we do it?  We targeted the new markets, the markets Statistics New Zealand called rather naively or even arrogantly “Other Asian”.  This group increased from 6 guests in 2003 to 115 guests in 2012.  Not surprisingly the biggest group in the “Other” category is China with 83 guests, sadly we don’t know how many Chinese were in the “other” back in 2003.


Chinese guests are now a significant part of our business.

Another growth area is in another “other”.  Other Europe, also not seen as important by Statistics New Zealand has grown from 37 guests to 50, the growth coming from Russia, Spain, but also Italy, France and the like.  Germany (seen as important and recorded separately in 2003) fell from 16 to 10 guests.  There seems to be a bit of a trend here, any winners, or countries seen as important by the Statistics NZ, are less so now.

The good thing about the significant growth in New Zealand guests for Hulmes Court is that these guests are more consistent travelers throughout the year, whereas international guests tend to come more in summer when we are already busy. It is much better to have guests in winter when we have capacity.  So the 31% growth in New Zealand guests is great news for us.  This is surprising since our dollar is so strong making international travel so much more appealing for New Zealanders.

The actual raw data is as follows -

610 guests in the months of September and October 2012 made up of (and using the old Statistics NZ categories) as follows:

1. New Zealand 243 guests (40%), 2. Other Asian 115 guests (19%) of which 83 where from mainland China (14%) 3. Australia 71 (12%) 4. USA/Canada 52 (9%) 5. Other European (excluding Germany) 50 (8%) 6. UK/Ireland 25 (4%) 7. Japan 20 (3%) 8. Germany 10 (2%) 9. All Other Countries 24 (4%).

547 guests in the months of September and October 2003 made up of (and using the old Statistics NZ categories) as follows:

 1. New Zealand 186 (34%) 2. Australia 119 (22%) 3. USA/Canada 95 (17%) 4. UK/Ireland 68 (12%) 5. Other European (excluding Germany) 37 (7%) 6. Japan 18 (3%) 7. Germany 16 (3%) 8. Other Asian 6 (1%) 9. All Other Countires 2 (<1%).






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