The government’s latest visitor expenditure figures released last week show that the Hamilton & Waikato region drew over $1.2b in visitor expenditure for the year ended March 2015*, a $81m or 7 percent increase on the previous year. This included increases in both international and domestic expenditure which equated to $998m and $233m respectively for YE Mar 15.
The figures attest to the region’s growing profile as a visitor destination, says Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (HWT) chief executive Kiri Goulter, with the largest increases seen in retail, hospitality and tourism activities and attractions.
“Our international icons including Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton Movie Set, Raglan and Hamilton Gardens continue to draw visitors to the region and this in turn has allowed us to showcase the myriad of other sights and experiences on offer to complement these well-known attractions,” she says. “Domestically we’ve also seen growth for the region with contributing factors such as the popularity of cycle tourism, our strong conferencing sector and key events the region has hosted including Cricket World Cup 2015”.
In national terms, the Hamilton & Waikato region retains its 5th position in New Zealand for total visitor expenditure, behind Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch.
The figures reinforce the value of tourism to the region as a significant economic driver for the local economy and also highlights the region’s position as a key contributor to the wider New Zealand tourism industry Ms Goulter says.
The statistics, released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), have been derived from a data collection called the Regional Tourism Estimates (RTEs), which provide estimates of tourism expenditure at a detailed regional level.
Mrs Goulter believes the increases show that, in conjunction with increased visitor numbers and a more buoyant sector, the organisation’s efforts to raise the region’s profile are also paying off.
“We’ve been working closely with Tourism New Zealand, our industry and other regional tourism organisations in offshore markets to raise awareness and attract visitors to the region while continuing to undertake a series of targeted domestic campaigns throughout the year,” she says.
For New Zealand, total tourism expenditure in the year ended March 2015 was $22.4b, an increase of 11 percent from the previous year. International tourism expenditure increased 20 percent ($1.4b) to $8.3b. Domestic tourism expenditure increased 6.8 percent ($899m) to $14.1b.
*The RTEs provide regional stakeholders with absolute dollar estimates of tourism expenditure at a detailed regional level (i.e. by regional council, territorial authority, visitors’ country of origin and industry).
For more information on the regional tourism estimates, see www.mbie.govt.nz.