Tourism sector

Bold plans for a thriving industry
Auckland is the most visited destination in New Zealand, welcoming around 72 per cent of all visitors to the country and has a strategy to grow the value of the visitor economy to $7.23 billion by 2021.

As a destination for travellers from all over the world, Auckland’s biggest advantage is its combination of big city style and proximity to stunning natural beauty.  Visitors can experience outstanding food and wine, world-class shopping, quality accommodation and a full calendar of exciting events, and explore scenic wine regions, native rainforest, beautiful beaches and the magnificent Hauraki Gulf and its islands.

The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) predicts that international visitor arrivals will reach almost 1.6 billion by the year 2020, up around 555 million or 60 per cent on 2010 levels.  East Asia and Pacific is forecasted to grow at over 5 per cent per year, increasing its share of global visitor arrivals from 19.4 per cent in 2010 to 25.4 per cent in 2020 with most of this demand coming from within the region and out of China as it emerges as a major consumer of international tourism globally.

Auckland has plans to grow its visitor economy and accelerate the growth of the tourism industry, by delivering on two key aspirations set out in the Auckland Visitor Plan:

  • Economic: Expand the visitor economy from $4.83 billion in 2012 to $7.23 billion in 2021
  • Place: Use the economic and intangible benefits delivered by tourism to transform Auckland into a place that is highly attractive to residents, investors and visitors.

These aspirations provide a proactive investment climate for investment by the private sector.

Auckland is committed to the visitor economy and has committed significant investment to develop the necessary infrastructure to enable this growth. 

Priority markets

There will continue to be significant growth in demand for international travel over the next decade.  Auckland is well placed to capitalise on this growth.  The highest growth rates in outbound travel are forecast for the Asia-Pacific region; hence simply maintaining Auckland’s market share of relevant outbound travel will result in significant growth in international visitor arrivals over the next decade.

Auckland’s Visitor Plan provides a blueprint for Auckland’s continued growth in this sector. This growth is based on a systematic and well resourced programme for growing tourism in Auckland.

The table below shows our key target markets and our activity in each.

Market Priority Market ATEED role
Tier 1 Australia, China, NZ domestic Auckland consumer campaigns, tactical trade and marketing activity
Tier 2 U.S., Japan, South East Asia Auckland tactical trade and marketing activity only
Emerging Indonesia, South America Supporting Tourism New Zealand trade and media activity

There are significant opportunities for the private sector to invest in hotels, accommodation and attractions that are built on Auckland’s special features.

Find out more about investment opportunities in Auckland tourism >

Tourism multinationals in Auckland



Global tourism sector investors attracted to Auckland
Auckland continues to attract strong interest from new and existing international investors. Many international tourism operators already in New Zealand choose to base their operations in Auckland, as well as seeking new opportunities to expand their local presence.

These international investors often partner their investment with a strong pool of local tourism sector operators, including the growing investment capability of local Māori in the sector.

Auckland tourism awards and accolades

Auckland continues to punch well above its weight in the tourism sector, gaining a number of international awards and accolades in the past few years.

  • Lonely Planet named Auckland one of the world’s Top 10 Cities for 2014 in its ‘Best in Travel’ guide
  • Ranked the third most liveable city in the world in the Mercer Quality of Living scale for 2012 and 2013
  • Ranked third in the prestigious 2013 ISEM Sport City Awards
  • Named Australasia’s top destination in the World Travel Awards 2012
  • Rated as having New Zealand’s top two visitor experiences in Lonely Planet’s New Zealand Travel Guide 2012 – Auckland Harbour and Hauraki Gulf, and urban Auckland
  • The New York Times named Waiheke Island, in the Hauraki Gulf, in its ’46 Places to Go in 2013’ guide.

These awards continue to point to the visitor economy growing in Auckland, creating opportunities for new operators and investors.

Auckland – the events city

Following the incredible success of hosting IRB Rugby World Cup 2011, Auckland has continued to attract major international events, particularly sporting events. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, ITM 500 Auckland V8 Supercars 2014, FIFA U-20 Rugby World Cup and the World Masters Games Auckland 2017 are just some of the major events coming up on the calendar.

Download Auckland events calendar >