15 September 2015: Report shows local i-SITEs are adding value to regional economies

i-SITEs across the country are adding value to regional economies by improving visitor experiences that in turn increase local spending and generate local benefits, a new report shows.

The Economic Impact Analysis of the i-SITE Network report states that, across the regions, the average income returned to households for every $1 provided in funding is $5.20, while the average GDP return generated by the i-SITEs equates to $8.70 per $1 of public funds invested.

Servicing around 7.5m domestic and international tourists in more than 80 locations around the country, the i-SITE network facilitates visitor activity within the regions, which in turn facilitates the purchase of goods and services by visitors to the regions.

i-SITE New Zealand Executive Manager Paul Yeo says local i-SITEs are able to unlock and facilitate additional expenditure within the region because they link visitors with the ‘things to do’ that they were previously unaware existed.

“As a result, i-SITES can make the visitor experience more pleasurable, more convenient and generally ‘richer’ for visitors.

“In all regions, most of the economic benefit of the $146.8m GDP generated by the i-SITE network is felt in the regions that the i-SITEs are promoting and, on average, around two-thirds of the effects stay within the region where the i-SITEs operate,” says Mr Yeo.

Waikato regional analysis:

  • Waikato is the third largest region in terms of commission-based sales, facilitating approximately 11.5 per cent ($8.5m) of all i-SITE network sales.
  • The Waikato region collected $429m in holiday expenditure in 2014.
  • i-SITE sales account for 5.9 per cent of the accommodation spend, 1.0 per cent of the travel spend and 1.7 per cent of the activity spend in the Waikato region.
  • Local i-SITEs generate an economic return of $6.30 per $1 of public funds invested in the Waikato region.
  • One component of this economic return is income, which includes salaries and wages returned to households as payment for labour. In the Waikato region the net income effect accruing to each household is $3.90:1 of public funds invested. This ratio shows the income returned to households (on a per household basis) relative to the public funds invested (also expressed on a per household basis).

Tourism, both domestic and international, generates $23.7 billion of expenditure in New Zealand, making it one of New Zealand’s largest industries.

i-SITE is New Zealand’s official visitor information network delivering expert local knowledge at over 80 locations. More than seven million people visit i-SITEs every year for information, itinerary planning and bookings. The Economic Impact Analysis of the i-SITE Network report was commissioned by i-SITE New Zealand and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and released in May 2015. The work was led by Market Economics with Colmar Brunton.