Hi there, you raise a good and rational point regarding domestic tourism and my view is you are right. Domestic tourism did represent over 50% of total spend on tourism in NZ before Covid-19 hit which not many people realise and it is definitely where the recovery will need to start. Everyone’s situation will be different coming out of this, some as you say will not be able to travel or treat themselves to luxuries for a while, others who came through it OK will have a pent up desire to get out of their bubble and neighbourhood, and take their family holiday in NZ instead of Fiji, Hawaii or Europe. It is hard to see corporate travel coming back fast as companies tighten their wallets and get used to doing meetings and conferences online. One thing we need to get over is the ingrained habit of not spending money on tourist attractions at home.. even though we do overseas quite happily. New Zealand is not a cheap place to travel, but it comes down to peoples perception of value. People will pay for something they see value in. To answer your question I am a little sceptical that the numbers and financial stability amongst consumers will be there to support businesses across the industry but there will certainly be places that traditionally have done very well from domestic tourism such as Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, and Queenstown who should make a good go if it if they tweak their product and in some cases adjust their pricing.
I note that various tourism bodies have been pushing for the first boarder to open be Australia and it would make a lot of sense as we are each others largest source of visitors.
It is certainly a time for refection and product adjustment and there are certainly operators out there working on new products and pricing structures to attract the domestic market when we gain our freedom again.