Visitor boost benefits business
Ruapehu accommodation providers have had a good year according to the Commercial Accommodation Monitor.
Figures for the year ending June 2017 show total guest nights rose 5.3 percent to 466,557 with international guest nights rising 10.6 percent to 175,816 and domestic guest nights rising 2.3 percent to 290,740.
The average length of stay fell slightly from 1.70 nights to 1.68 nights however, the overall occupancy rate rose from 29.3 percent to 32.1 percent.
Council Economic Development Manager Warren Furner said the results compiled by Statistics NZ provides key benchmarks for how well the tourism and visitor sector was doing.
‘‘Because of the relative importance of tourism and visitor services to Ruapehu the commercial guest night statistics are one of the key indicators for the strength of the local economy.
Furner said the statistics would have been higher if it had included hosted accommodation such as private hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, Book-a-bach, Air BNB or farm stays.
He said the data supported evidence of Council’s investment into economic development activities such as destination promotion through Visit Ruapehu was worthwhile.
‘‘Excitingly we know from research undertaken by VR that the pro-active marketing of Ruapehu as a destination can provide even bigger opportunities for local accommodation providers to gain an even bigger share of the national growing visitor and tourism market.’’
‘‘This highlighted that once people knew about the experiences on offer in Ruapehu their propensity for coming to the district on holiday doubled from 14% to 28%.’’
A comparison of June 2017 against June 2016 showed the impact of how large international sporting tours and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts investment strategy flowed through to the local economy.
‘‘The June month on month comparison showed guest nights rose 22.9 percent with international guest nights contributing 37.6 percent and domestic guest nights rising 17.3 percent.
‘‘This result reflects the Lions Rugby Tour and the early opening of Whakapapa Ski area which was made possible by RAL’S investment in new snow making technology.’’ An early start to the ski season has injected about $6million into the Ruapehu economy.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts opened Happy Valley a month earlier than usual, on July 1, thanks to its investment in a German-made snow factory.
It appears snow bunnies have taken full advantage of the earlier opening with spending up on the mountain and off.
In the July Marketview report, provided to the Ruapehu District Council, the district has seen a 29.7 per cent increase in accommodation and other spending.
Total spending was $19.8 million.
Spending on tourism activities alone increased by 99.3 per cent to about $3.9million.
Matt Mcivor, marketing manager for RAL, said the extra spending was due to Whakapapa and Turoa opening early.
‘‘This could not have been possible without the investment we put into Happy Valley and snowmaking on both ski areas this year,’’ he said.
‘‘The added service of free shuttles has made it so much easier for people in the Ruapehu region to get up the mountain, a key part of our investment programme for 2017.’’
The investment programme kicked off last year with and will continue on the next few years.
Ruapehu accommodation providers have enjoyed growth over the past year.