Director of operations at NZ bizbuysell.
Tourism has flown firmly into number one position as New Zealand’s prime industry – with no finish line in sight.
Buying a business in the tourist sector can be a lucrative lifestyle option, attracting the sociable, savvy and adventurous. Opportunities abound in every niche.
While a growth market is desirable when buying any business, tourism business buyers still need to exercise care ensuring the business has a future and will provide a return that will service any loans and support the lifestyle you want.
Although there are some great opportunities, it is more tactical buying in today’s flourishing market, compared to grabbing a bargain in a downturn.
With an increase in airlines flying direct to New Zealand, such as Air China and American Airlines, tourist numbers are picked to keep growing. The once ghost town of empty beds is now a thing of the past.
When considering the purchase of an accommodation business, such as a boutique bed and breakfast, not only are you entering the real estate market, but possibly providing a family home, an income and lifestyle, while increasing future value. You can live in a location that you love and choose the length of the season you operate.
Having an entrepreneurial drive may tempt some to start out on their own, but finding a suitable established business is usually the best way to go, as you can assess its market, financials and offering, to ensure it is profitable today and hopefully tomorrow. This takes the gamble out of the equation – not to mention saving invaluable time and having cashflow from day one.
There is a much higher success rate with a successful existing business. Established accommodation and adventure operations will usually have a sound financial history, new and returning customers, as well as proven systems.
Tourism operators have the security of knowing that industry partners such as Tourism Association New Zealand are working hard with initiatives to increase tourism numbers and spend into the next decade.
Often the previous business owner will stay on a bit to get you started or provide mentoring – so prior business experience is not always mandatory. A good option is to visit some businesses that appeal and get a feel for them, their profitability and if you can see yourself running it.
From the modest but bustling city centre café to a remote high-end lodge, there is a slice of tourism pie for all.