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Welcome mat ready for domestic, transtasman tourists

WellingtonNZ destination general manager David Perks said events, such as Toast Martinborough, would be key to attracting transtasman tourists to the region. PHOTOS/FILE

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A move to Alert Level 2 as soon as possible, and the potential for transtasman tourism in the near future, would be welcome news for hospitality and tourism operators across the region, industry leaders say.

Destination Wairarapa chief executive Anna Nielson.

Destination Wairarapa chief executive Anna Nielson said Wairarapa businesses were looking forward to finally welcoming visitors back from across the country, but especially Wellington visitors.

“The impact of opening up tourism is more than just economic,” she said. “That’s important of course, but there is also a strong emotional factor to welcoming Wellingtonians back to Wairarapa.”

She said the ability to come over the hill to visit loved ones would be as welcome a relief to families as it was to businesses.

“The welcome mat is dusted off and ready. We can’t wait.”

David Perks, WellingtonNZ destination general manager, said clarification about Level 2 details was critical for businesses to secure their future.

“When we get to Level 2 we believe locals will embrace going out to different parts,” he said.

“Whether they’re just buying an ice cream or coffee in a different place from where they have lived in their bubble, or perhaps wanting to have a night away in the city, over the hill, or by the beach.”

He said domestic tourism contributed $1.93 billion to the Wellington regional economy for the year ending February 2020.

“Reigniting that spend will begin to bring back security of employment and survival for some businesses and pump some life into communities across the region,” he said.

There was plenty on offer for visitors to enjoy.

“The vibrancy of our communities from Wellington city to Masterton and Otaki is underpinned by locals and visitors enjoying the people and rich experiences the region has to offer.”

Support from Australian visitors to the region would also be important as it is easily the region’s largest international visitor market, he said.

Perks said campaigns to attract Australians to Wellington, including events and well-priced offers, were ready and waiting for when the government fires up its transtasman bubble plan.

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