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Wellington primed to capitalise on thriving tourism industry

3 Jun 2015

Commercial guest nights spent in Wellington have hit another record high, and the outlook for the future is even brighter, industry leaders say.

Rydges Wgtn Night View 02
Commercial accommodation figures hit a record high in the last year

Latest Statistics New Zealand figures show that demand is at record levels and the sector is in great health, says Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks.

“The year to March saw more than 2.17 million guest nights spent in Wellington city - the highest 12-month total since records began over a decade ago.” 

The city’s hotel occupancy across those 12 months was over 75%, with international guest nights in the city up by more than 10.5%, Mr Perks says.

“The tourism sector’s constant growth continues to create jobs and incentivise investment, with a 5 Star hotel currently under construction and three new international airline routes launching in the space of six months.” 

Wellington Airport CEO Steve Sanderson says the introduction of three new international routes into the city was an indication of confidence both in the region’s current performance and its future potential. 

“Jetstar’s new flights from Gold Coast and Melbourne have added more than 130,000 seats annually to Wellington’s international market, better connecting the region with a combined market of well over 5 million residents.” 

The Fiji Airways service between Nadi and Wellington launching in June also offers huge potential for the region, Mr Perks says.

“The new Fiji Airways service will connect Wellington with Los Angeles, with just a two hour stopover in Nadi for inbound or outbound travellers. The Pacific Islands are also hugely attractive to our key long haul market of North America, so a stopover in Fiji and then flying on direct into Wellington is an attractive and affordable proposition.” 

The timing couldn’t be more ideal, with the strong international guest night growth being mirrored in feedback from international trade operators.

“Our team has just returned from TRENZ, the industry expo attended by over 300 international travel and tourism buyers. Wellington is definitely featuring more prominently on their itineraries, as they expand their horizons beyond the traditional New Zealand tourist trails and seek to leverage the region’s ever growing international profile.”

Westpac Stadium Chief Executive Steve Harmon says one of the strongest major events line-ups in years would help sustain momentum in visitor numbers through the rest of 2015 and beyond.

“We have the FIFA U20 World Cup that’s just kicked off, and Super Rugby Finals in June. We also welcome back the Warriors in August, host Elton John in November, AC/DC in December, and are already seeing huge excitement and demand for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo just announced for February.” 

Industry projections suggest the growth trend will continue, Wellington City Councillor for Economic Development Jo Coughlan says.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has forecast international visitor expenditure in New Zealand to grow rapidly over the next few years, reaching $11.1 billion in 2021 and Wellington is well-positioned to capitalise on this growth. Our air connectivity continues to improve, tourism infrastructure investment is strong, and our product is world-class.” 

The establishment of the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency will enable the region to maximise its opportunities, she says.

“In the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency we will be establishing a larger, more cohesive and incredibly dynamic organisation dedicated to driving the prosperity and liveability of the world’s coolest little city and region. It’s an incredibly exciting time for Wellington – all the signs indicate we’re on the cusp of our next major step change.”


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