27 May 2009
Slightly increasing Wellington City Council’s downtown levy could build a fund to attract co-investment and raise up to $4million for marketing the capital in Australia, Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) says.
PWT currently has a budget of just under $400,000 for marketing Wellington in Australia through tourism trade and travel media. Almost 200,000 Australians visited Wellington last year to do business, have a holiday or visit friends and family.
While together those visitors spent $279 million in and around the city – an average of just under $32,000 per hour throughout the year – the potential for growth in the market is enormous, PWT Chief Executive David Perks says.
“Those 200,000 Australians represent just 2% of the 10 million people living in the three East Coast Australia cities from which there are direct flights into Wellington. That’s not just a Wellington issue, it’s a New Zealand issue.
“Australians know what New Zealand in general has to offer, but not what our destinations do. They don’t see Wellington – or any New Zealand gateway – as a short break destination. The people we do see rave about Wellington and we know our city offers what Australians want. We just need to get out there and tell them about it.”
With the current economic climate seeing travellers holidaying closer to home, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to launch a deal-driven consumer campaign to inspire more Australians to visit Wellington, Mr Perks says.
Year-to-date arrivals from Australia into New Zealand are still up while other markets such as the UK and America have dropped by 10% and 9% respectively.
“Filling 20 more seats into Wellington each day over the next year, for example, could inject an estimated $27million into Wellington businesses and the wider economy. Of course we can’t guarantee that, but we know this game and we’ve done our homework. One thing we can promise is that if we do nothing, nothing will happen. Doing nothing is just not Wellington.”
An increase of 15c per $1000 of capital value in Wellington City Council’s Downtown Levy - paid by commercial ratepayers in Wellington’s CBD to cover the cost of tourism promotion, events and other activities that drive spend in the CBD – could raise just over $1 million per year for marketing Wellington in Australia.
“We’ve put that proposal to Wellington City Council. If they decide to go ahead with it, our aim would be to turn that one million into four. We have had very positive talks with central government regarding co-investment opportunities and we would also seek investment from tourism partners both locally and nationally. We’re confident in our ability to bring partners to the table and make something big happen.”
Discussions with industry colleagues, partner agencies and central and local government about the concept have been extremely positive, Mr Perks says.
“We’re not just talking about tourism. We’re talking about affecting a shift in the way Australians view Wellington and New Zealand so they not only want to visit for short breaks, they want to do business here, they want to buy products from here and want to live here.”
PWT has written to downtown levy ratepayers informing them of the concept and is keen to hear their feedback, Mr Perks says.
“What we’re proposing is fairly nominal when compared to what we expect to return. For example a property with a capital value of $1m would have to pay an additional $150 per year, or a $5m property would incur an increase of $745. Basically for a few extra dollars, we’re saying collectively we could get onto taking Wellington’s economy to the next level.”
Commercial downtown levy ratepayers are encouraged to send their thoughts and questions to feedback@WellingtonNZ.com.
For more information please contact:
Positively Wellington Tourism
DDI 04 916 1211, M 021 548 155