Palmy be­com­ing a tourist trap

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

Palmer­ston North is now New Zealand’s 10th largest tourist des­ti­na­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment fig­ures, an­nual vis­i­tor spend­ing in the city for the year end­ing March 2015 was up 13 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year to $428 mil­lion.

Based on the num­ber of visi­tors (in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional tourists) spend, the in­crease is higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 11 per cent, in­di­cat­ing the city is now re­cov­er­ing from the loss of trans-Tas­man flights in 2008 when Free­dom Air was wound up.

Mayor Grant Smith says vis­i­tor

‘‘The de­ci­sion by Orig­i­nair and Jet­star to in­clude Palmer­ston North ... can only boost our vis­i­tor spend­ing.’’

Mayor Grant Smith

spend­ing has over­taken Nel­son and Hast­ings in the past 12 months, and is rapidly clos­ing in on Taupo. ‘‘The de­ci­sion by Orig­i­nair and Jet­star to in­clude Palmer­ston North in their sched­ules can only boost our vis­i­tor spend­ing.’’

The city’s strength is in do­mes­tic tourism, where it is now ranked 7th na­tion­wide in terms of spend­ing com­pared with 11th four years ago. Visi­tors from Auck­land, Can­ter­bury and Welling­ton were the strong­est con­trib­u­tors.

Des­ti­na­tion Manawatu’s Lance Bick­ford, says Palmer­ston North is tak­ing bet­ter ad­van­tage of its cen­tral lo­ca­tion, and a cam­paign to en­tice driv­ers on state high­ways 1, 2 and 3 to stop off and ex­plore Manawatu’s recre­ational and leisure op­por­tu­ni­ties has been suc­cess­ful.

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