In­creas­ing Waikato’s tourism

Cambridge Edition - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE BAIN

Tourism is mak­ing cash reg­is­ters in the Waikato ring to the tune of $1.4 bil­lion dol­lars.

Hamil­ton and Waikato Tourism chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ja­son Daw­son said the Waikato was now ranked fifth na­tion­ally for monthly vis­i­tor ex­pen­di­ture for Au­gust 2017.

It was chal­leng­ing ma­jor tourism cen­tres such as Auck­land, Queen­stown, Christchurch and Welling­ton.

In par­tic­u­lar, the Waikato was mak­ing ground as a pop­u­lar re­gion for the con­fer­ence mar­ket.

The news comes hard on the heels of an eco­nomic re­port show­ing Fiel­d­ays was now worth an­other $0.5 bil­lion to the re­gion.

It also fol­lowed Hamil­ton and Waikato Tourism’s an­nual re­port, to the end of June, which showed tourism spend­ing ex­ceeded $1.419b.

In the break­down, of the $1.419 bil­lion, $1.06b was gen­er­ated from do­mes­tic tourism and $353m from in­ter­na­tional tourism.

‘‘We are see­ing marked in­creases across the board and it is a tes­ta­ment to the hard work of our tourism, re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity providers within our re­gion.

‘‘Last Au­gust saw $101m spent in our re­gion, which is a 4 per cent in­crease on spend­ing from the same pe­riod last year,’’ said Daw­son

It was spread well across dif­fer­ent ser­vices.

Re­tail sales mea­sured $27m. Spend­ing at restau­rants, cafes and bars in the re­gion to­talled $16m while other tourism prod­ucts gar­nered a $15m spend.

Fuel and sales of al­co­hol, food and drinks to­talled $27m com­bined.

Cul­tural, re­cre­ation and gam­bling ser­vices gained $7m, with ac­com­mo­da­tion ser­vices and pas­sen­ger trans­port tak­ing in $5m each.

Adding the year to date, to the end of Au­gust 2017, Hamil­ton and Waikato had a to­tal vis­i­tor ex­pen­di­ture of $1.448 bil­lion, in fifth po­si­tion be­hind Auck­land, Christchurch, Queen­stown and Welling­ton.

This is a 7 per cent in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year.

One of the big wins was in the con­fer­ence mar­ket now mov­ing up a spot be­hind Auck­land and Welling­ton.

‘‘Over the past 12 months the Waikato has im­proved its mar­ket share by 10.8 per cent edg­ing out Queen­stown for the spot.’’

Daw­son was con­fi­dent tourism was no where near its po­ten­tial but was grow­ing at a ‘‘steady rate’’.

Lake Kara­piro re­mains one of the ma­jor tourist at­trac­tions for the Waipa district. In­set: Hamil­ton and Waikato Tourism chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ja­son Daw­son.

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