30 Aug 2012
Visitor arrivals, sales and spending all increased in Wellington in the 2011/12 financial year, despite the global economic crisis continuing to embattle one of New Zealand’s largest foreign exchange earners.
The 2011/12 Annual Report of Partnership Wellington Trust – which trades as Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) – outlines strong growth in a number of key performance areas in the face of some tough challenges for the sector.
With visitation to New Zealand from traditional long haul markets such as the US and UK continuing to decline, it was a 17.5% increase in Australian visitor arrivals into the capital that drove an 18.3% surge in all international visitor arrivals in 2011/12. Overall commercial guest nights in the city saw growth of 3.2%, while weekend rooms sold in PWT’s partner hotels grew by 9.8%.
PWT Chief Executive David Perks says the results were hard-won and testament to Wellington’s collaborative approach.
“The rules of our game have changed significantly over the past few years,” Mr Perks says. “What we have done, and will continue to do as a collective in Wellington, is adjust our game plan accordingly, finding and developing new opportunities to keep the growth curves heading in the right direction.”
The sales arms of the not-for-profit organisation also posted strong results, with $704,000 of bookings generated for tourism industry partners through WellingtonNZ.com and i-SITE Visitor Centre trading revenue increasing 13.5% to almost $3.5 million.
Development of the organisation’s communications channels saw PWT significantly build its digital reach, with e-news databases increasing 51% and social media following increasing 61% across the year, Mr Perks says.
“With so much competition for peoples’ attention in today’s world, direct, relevant and timely connections with consumers are vital to converting desire into action.
“We now have the ability to communicate with over 200,000 fans of Wellington at any one time; this has been vital to the success of the tactical activity underpinning our brand campaigns.”
PWT attracted almost 2.5 million visits to WellingtonNZ.com and its various event and campaign websites in the 2011/12 year. International profile of the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ also continued on a high as a result of Rugby World Cup 2011 and media coverage resulting from November’s Society of American Travel Writers convention.
Wellington City Council funding – sourced through the Downtown Levy commercial rate – accounted for 48% of the total marketing investment made through PWT activity in the year, Mr Perks says.
“It’s really important to us and to Wellington City Council that we leverage the downtown levy ratepayers’ investment to enhance our reach. Wellington’s long established partnership model – where we match the city’s investment in tourism dollar-for-dollar through marketing partnerships with the hoteliers, businesses and neighbouring regions – is the key driver behind the capital’s tourism success.”
While times had been tough, the opportunities were still many, Mr Perks says.
“We have had to work harder, smarter and faster – but that’s what makes the results all the more satisfying.”
View the full Partnership Wellington Trust Annual Report 2011/12 online here.
:: Overall commercial guest nights in the city grew 3.2%, while weekend rooms sold in PWT’s partner hotels grew by 9.8%.
:: International visitor arrivals into Wellington increased 18.3%, driven by a 17.5% surge in Australian arrivals. Total international guest nights in the city increased 7.6%.
:: There were $704,000 worth of bookings generated for tourism industry partners through WellingtonNZ.com and i-SITE Visitor Centre trading revenue increasing 13.5% to almost $3.5 million.
:: Sample figures indicate a 6.7% increase in downtown retail spending by domestic visitors, and a 2.5% increase by Wellingtonians.
:: Wellington City Council funding – sourced through the Downtown Levy commercial rate – accounted for 48% of the total marketing investment made through PWT activity.