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Visitor spending boosts July take

While tourism businesses across the country experienced a drop in spending by domestic tourists during July, expenditure by Kiwi visitors to Wairarapa enjoyed an increase in that same period.

Domestic tourism electronic card transaction [TECT] expenditure data, as recorded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, showed that locals’ TECTs fell 6 per cent nationwide in July compared to the same time last year, but the spending of domestic visitors to Wairarapa was slightly up – at $12.5 million in July 2023, compared to $12.3 million in July, 2022.

Tourism group Destination Wairarapa ultimately aims to draw visitors to the region and encourage them to stay longer and to spend more, and its general manager Anna Nielson noted that the increased spending figures further cement the success of domestic tourism in the region post-covid.

“Data reveals we’ve increased domestic spend in July 2023, and that really highlights that when you offer quality events and experiences in our region, people will come regardless of the weather, regardless of the season,” Nielson said.

“The Greytown Festival of Christmas, Matariki celebrations, and an increasing awareness of how much family appeal we have for school holidays have all contributed to a domestic visitor spend that bucks the national trend.

“Prior to covid, the winter period has been a quieter time with fewer visitors. Now, with the addition of these festivals and celebrations, we have been able to turn July around and establish Wairarapa as an appealing winter destination.

“This kind of success is underpinned by the number of proven tourism and hospitality experiences our industry boasts year-round.

“Now our reputation as a go-to destination for the warmer months is further buoyed by an enticing winter programme. This will develop more with the opportunities provided by our Dark Sky Reserve status, with winter providing prime dark sky viewing conditions.”

As previously reported by the Times-Age last month, Infometrics’ analysis indicates Wairarapa has seen a 24 per cent increase in domestic tourism spending compared to pre-pandemic [2019] levels, with over $10m a month spent in Wairarapa by domestic travellers.

Regarding the region’s general economic performance, Infometrics chief executive and principal economist Brad Olsen noted that domestic tourism is “a key part of the area’s recent economic success” and “by far the most important driver”.

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