Vis­i­tor boost ben­e­fits busi­ness

Ruapehu Press - - Your Local News - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

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.

SUP­PLIED

Ruapehu ac­com­mo­da­tion providers have en­joyed growth over the past year.

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