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Kāpiti gains recognition as an eco-tourism hotspot

21 Sep 2018

The Kāpiti Coast is emerging as one of New Zealand’s hottest eco-tourism destinations as the region looks to bolster its infrastructure and becomes more accessible to tourists.

Sunrise in Kapiti 2
The sun is rising on Kāpiti as an eco-tourism hotspot

The region has some of the best eco-tourism offerings in New Zealand including Kāpiti Island Nature Tours which won the Environmental Tourism Award at the New Zealand Tourism Awards held in Christchurch recently.

As the district poises itself for increasing visitor interest in the special nature of what Kāpiti has to offer, Council and the community continue to work together to plan future tourism development projects to support that tourism growth.

The opening of Transmission Gully in 2020 will make the area an even more desirable place to live while strengthening business development and visitor attraction opportunities.

Air access to Kāpiti has been assured with Air Chathams recently launching its 36 flights a week service between Kāpiti and Auckland. It allows the region to directly tap into tourists arriving in Auckland, which is New Zealand’s main entry point for international visitors.

Kāpiti Coast District Council is well prepared for increased interest from tourists with the launch earlier this year of the new destination website and digital platform – created in collaboration with WREDA.

The site shows Kāpiti in all its breath-taking beauty and invites potential visitors to explore, do business and enjoy what Kāpiti has to offer.

Kāpiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan says developing and maintaining an attractive and inspiring online visitor presence is a hugely important part of the economic development activity the Council supports through its destination marketing work.

“The site is an innovative tool that supports and enhances the visitor information and attraction service offered by our local I-site team based in Paraparaumu.”

He says the launch of the site couldn’t have been more timely, with visitor spending and international guest nights both on the increase.

International visitor spending in the Kāpiti Coast increased by 10.6 per cent to $34 million in the year ending July 2018, according to MBIE’s July Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates. It also revealed that spending from Chinese visitors alone increased by 41 per cent to $2.2 million over the same period.

And Statistics New Zealand’s Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM) for June 2018 shows the Kāpiti Coast District enjoyed a 4.8 per cent increase in international guest nights for the year ending June 2018, compared to the previous year. This was offset by a 3.5 per cent fall in domestic guest nights over the same period.

The CAM also reveals the average length of stay for visitors in commercial accommodation over the past five years in Kāpiti was 2.23 days, ahead of Auckland (2.04 days) and Wellington City (2.12 days).

WREDA Chief Executive Lance Walker says the door to the Kāpiti District is swinging wide open as more people discover its range of outstanding attractions including eco-tourism, the world class Paraparaumu Beach Golf Course, and being the home of Kiwi craft beer pioneers Tuatara.

“Kāpiti is a part of the Wellington region that has outstanding natural beauty including the world class, predator-free charm of Kāpiti Island. These sorts of eco-attractions are gaining in popularity amongst tourists worldwide. We look forward to working closely with the Kāpiti Coast District Council to grow the region as a tourist destination and key part of our wider Wellington tourism proposition.

“Securing air links with Auckland through Air Chathams was an important step in that growth journey, as the opening of Transmission Gully in a couple of years will also prove to be. Exciting times are in store for Kāpiti.”