More than 270,000 guest nights by over 65’s on West Coast

A recent report by Benje Patterson estimates that there were 272,328 guest nights by silver tourists on the West Coast at the pre-Covid tourism peak, which equated to 21% of all guest nights in the region. The silver tourism economy, defined as touristic activity by people aged 65 years and over, represents a key growth opportunity for tourism in the West Coast and other regions of New Zealand.

Benje Patterson’s report on silver tourists in the West Coast also showed that:

  • Silver tourists spent $87 million, which was 18% of the West Coast’s total annual tourism expenditure before Covid-19.
  • There were 646 jobs supported by silver tourism in the West Coast, which was 18% of all tourism jobs in the region.
  • Of the guest nights by silver tourists on the West Coast, 53% were international, while 47% were domestic. In comparison, total tourism guest nights across all age groups on the West Coast were split into 64% international and 36% domestic.
  • Silver tourists enjoy activities that showcase New Zealand’s natural environment the most. They are also far more likely to participate in leisure and history-based activities and less likely to partake in adventure-based activities.
  • Silver tourists tend to stay slightly longer in a destination than other tourists (about 15% longer). In terms of their budgets, domestic silver tourists spend less per day than the average domestic tourist, while international silver tourists spend a similar amount per day to the average international tourist.
  • Hotel accommodation is the most popular type of accommodation for silver tourists, followed by staying with friends and family, which a silver tourist is far more likely to do than the average tourist.
  • Silver tourism has significant growth potential over the next decade as the over 65 years population growth rate is expected to be high. If the West Coast can continue to capture a similar share of growth in silver tourism, then guest nights by silver tourists on the West Coast could rise by more than 75,000 per annum to reach almost 350,000 guest nights each year within a decade.

Please get in touch if you are interested in learning more about the silver tourism economy in your region. Reports and presentations on tourism by over 65s can be customised for all regional tourism areas in New Zealand. The full West Coast report is available for download here.