Tourism boost to economy
The Waikato region reached another significant milestone recently when it smashed its record for annual visitor expenditure.
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson says leisure and business tourism is now contributing $1.5 billion into the regional economy annually, fifth behind Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
“Domestic visitors are our number one asset as they are contributing $1.143 billion into the regional economy, with international bringing in $357 million. These are significant figures and it’s not just tourism which benefits from the growth in visitor expenditure,” says Mr Dawson.
The latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates for the year ending February 2018, show that visitors love to shop (retail spend $783 million), experience Waikato hospitality (food and beverage spend $239 million), get around the region (transport $101 million) and stay in quality commercial accommodation ($80 million). Other beneficiaries include the arts and recreation sectors where visitors spend on average $198 million, he said.
“We also had some significant events which have helped boost visitor expenditure, such as the HSBC NZ Rugby Sevens and the DHL Lions Series. The overall economic impact for Hamilton alone from the British and Irish Lions injected $10.7million into the economy,” says Mr Dawson.
“And it’s not just leisure travellers spending up large either. Business travellers who visit Hamilton and Waikato for meetings and conferences are also contributing to our stellar figures” says Dawson.
The latest Convention Delegate Survey results show that international business delegates spend on average $299 per night when visiting Waikato, spending around seven nights in New Zealand. Domestic business event delegates spend more with an average of $461 per night and stay around three nights in the region.
“Our business event and convention market are key to the continued success of our region. Not only do conference delegates spend more than the leisure traveller, they also have a favourable experience and return for a holiday with family and friends,” he said.
“Increased visitor numbers and tourism expenditure into our region contribute to a sustainable regional economy. We are seeing an increase in student numbers on tourismrelated training programmes, hospitality providers moving into larger premises and retailers extending opening hours to meet demand. We are also seeing suppliers to the tourism industry flourishing as well.”
Employment numbers are growing in the sector with increased opportunities for graduates and those more experienced. Lifting the pay of workers within the sector is also a key focus to ensure everyone benefits from the growth.
Hamilton and Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson.