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Wellington tourism sector to make hay while the sun shines

30 Nov 2017

After the challenges of last year’s earthquake-affected summer, Wellington is looking forward to hitting new tourism heights as the peak season gets underway.

Wellington mayor Justin Lester jumps in the harbour
Wellington mayor Justin Lester takes a lunchtime dip in the harbour

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency’s Venues, Marketing and Destination Development General Manager David Perks says that boosted by summer, for the first time, commercial guest nights across the region are predicted to reach 3 million over a 12-month period.

“Prior to the earthquake, two consecutive summers of double-digit growth saw visitor spending in the Wellington region reach $921 million across December 2015 to March 2016.

“We lost some momentum last summer. Whilst domestic spend declined by $26 million across those months, we still had growth in the number of international tourists visiting Wellington. We’re confident Wellington’s summer tourism mojo will be back this year, driven by strong promotion, great events and the ongoing growth in international visitor spend.”

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment has forecast an average annual 4.8 per cent growth in international visitor numbers across New Zealand until 2023.

Mr Perks says Wellington’s summer events programme will attract visitors to the city, particularly domestic visitors.

“The biennial New Zealand Festival runs across February and March, opening with the spectacular Waka Odyssey on Wellington harbour. Packed with world-class local and international performers, the New Zealand Festival has something for every taste and budget.

“From 9 December to 11 February is Te Papa’s Let’s Go Build: A Festival for LEGO Lovers, which will be a crowd-pleaser for LEGO fans of all ages. LEGO is a global cultural icon and we expect the exhibition to attract large crowds over the Christmas school holidays.”

Wellington’s cruise season is already in full swing with a record number of ships expected in port. By the end of the season in April, around $65 million will have been pumped into the local economy.

Mr Perks says the local hoteliers, hospitality businesses and other tourism operators that took a hit last summer will be very pleased to see the domestic crowds return.

“Wellington’s tourism sector has shown great resilience, and the outlook remains very positive, highlighted by the reopening of the Sofitel Hotel on Bolton St. The re-establishment of SH1 along the South Island’s east coast will also restore a vital tourism infrastructure link to Wellington.”

“Wellington’s tourism sector has shown great resilience, and the outlook remains very positive, highlighted by the reopening of the Sofitel Hotel on Bolton St. The re-establishment of SH1 along the South Island’s east coast will also restore a vital tourism infrastructure link to Wellington.”

“You can’t beat Wellington during a good summer but this one looms as being a bit special. We look forward to enjoying it with locals and visitors alike,” Mr Perks says.

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