Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park. PHOTO/FILE

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

At least $47 million more was spent in Wairarapa in 2020 than the previous year.

Spending increased 10.7 per cent on 2019, according to Paymark’s latest statistics made public on Monday.

The tally was calculated on electronic transactions alone.

This increase is head and shoulders above all other regions, with Whanganui coming in second with a 7.9 per cent increase in spending.

The Paymark figures show $438m was spent in 2019 and $485m in 2020 in Wairarapa.

Being unable to shop or go anywhere during the lockdown resulted in a financial downturn mid-year, but a shopping boom at the end.

Evidently, post covid-19 lockdown-shopping and holiday therapy put money in the till for Wairarapa businesses. Those in the market for canned overseas trips spent some of their spare cash at home.

The total spent across New Zealand through Paymark [all electronic card spending] was $42 billion in 2020.

Destination Wairarapa said the region’s increase in visitor numbers last year had a direct result in spending.

Data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment show retail, food, and beverage spending was up by $4.4m in Wairarapa on 2019 and retail ‘other’, general and high street shopping, ie, whiteware increased by $3.5m.

Destination Wairarapa general manager Anna Nielson said the forecast for tourism was bleak in the wake of covid-10 but did not materialise for Wairarapa.

“Ever since the first Level 4 restrictions were lifted, Wairarapa has been plotting an upward trajectory on visitor spend,” Nielson said.

“We benefit enormously from being so close to a major city, and clearly Wellingtonians love coming here, and they make up nearly 40 per cent of our market.

“We can and should celebrate our number one status as a reflection of the resilience of local businesses and a commitment from the community to support them,” she said.

“When covid-19 looked like it was going to floor tourism, instead of throwing their hands in the air, many Wairarapa operators used it as an opportunity to plan and prepare for the recovery. The occupancy rate at Copthorne Solway Park has recovered.

“After a tough winter, the region’s largest accommodation provider is now booming with future bookings putting it on course to out-perform the previous 12 months.

“My hope for 2021 is that all this goodwill continues as we all benefit from what tourism brings our region.”

Wings over Wairarapa is on February 26-28 and brings thousands of visitors as does the Golden Shears, March 4-6.

  • For more information about Paymark, go to: www.paymark.co.nz.


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