In-depth, up to date, accurate data is required to undertake effective strategic planning for the tourism sector.
This includes undertaking research into the travel patterns of visitors and investigating the challenges that changes in visitor numbers can have upon our travel services.
To help gain understanding within this area, a number of assessments and regional surveys have been carried out on air travel patterns.
Air Travel Survey
In 2017 a preliminary Air Travel Survey was carried out, where 651 people shared information on their frequency of travel, departure airport, chosen travel times, decision making processes and experiences with cancellations from Invercargill Airport.
One of the key findings of the research was that the majority of respondents chose to travel from Queenstown or Dunedin to secure cheaper, and better connecting flights. This, along with the other information obtained identified the key areas of focus for the assessment of air transport services in Southland.
Air Travel Patterns Research
The assessment was carried out by Impact Consulting in August 2017 and surveyed 1124 people, representing both business and personal travel, to investigate the air travel patterns of Southlanders, identify factors that influenced the travel volume from Invercargill Airport, and provide a comparison with the Air Travel Demand survey that was carried out in 2009.
The assessment found that 43% of all Southland business and residents who travel by air choose to depart and arrive through other airports.
The top reason for using other airports, mainly Queenstown and Dunedin, included price and availability of direct flights and overall better flight schedules.
These findings established a preliminary business case for potential incentives that Invercargill Airport could potentially gain should they be able to successfully advocate for, and implement change to Southlander travel behaviour.
Alongside looking into travel patterns, work is also carried out to analyse retail, tourism and event spending of visitors across the region. This is achieved by using MarketView, a tool that uses Paymark electronic transaction data and BNZ spending date to produce regional and granulated spending information.