Tourism boost to econ­omy

Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

PHOTO / Stephen Barker

Hamil­ton and Waikato Tourism chief ex­ec­u­tive Ja­son Daw­son.

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