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24 Nov 2015
Improvements to government data methodology have revealed tourism is even more valuable to the Wellington economy than previously thought. The latest Regional Tourism Estimates (RTEs) reveal that the visitor economy across the Wellington region was worth an estimated $2.5 billion dollars in the year to March 2015.
Chris Whelan, Chief Executive of the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA), said the RTEs highlighted the value of tourism to Wellington’s economy, and of Wellington to New Zealand’s tourism industry:
“Tourism in the Wellington region generates $6.8 million dollars a day. That revenue employs thousands of people, working in successful businesses that also enhance Wellington’s vibrancy and liveability for year-round residents. ”
David Perks, Chief Executive of Positively Wellington Tourism, a unit of WREDA, said the tourism industry could take a great deal of pride in these results;
“Our region brings together fantastic events, world-class visitor attractions, amazing culinary experiences, exciting creative culture and easy access to nature. There is always something new opening and that is hugely attractive to visitors, many of whom return time and time again to visit old favourites as well as discover new haunts.”
Around $1.98 billion, or 80% of visitor spending in the Wellington region was by domestic tourists, Mr Perks said.
"Wellington City Council's recognition of the value of the domestic tourism dollar goes right back to the 90s and this has enabled us to cement a position as New Zealand's ultimate urban destination. Their investment, along with the partnership of the city's hotels, has helped us attract more than 1.6 million domestic commercial guest nights in the year to March. Since then, each month has seen an average of 5% growth on the same month last year.”
Steve Martin, Wellington Regional Chairman of the Tourism Industry Association Hotels Sector, says the local industry was enjoying strong demand;
“Wellington’s hotel occupancy rates have been very high over the last couple of years, and confidence is high. As a result we’re seeing capital expenditure on upgrades to existing hotels, new development projects, and increased interest in property investment.”
Wellington City Council Economic Development Councillor Jo Coughlan says the effects of strong visitor spending is felt well beyond what is traditionally seen as the ‘tourism industry’
“Visitors help drive growth and sustainability in sectors from food and beverage services, to retail, arts and culture. With, for example, more than half a billion dollars of Wellington’s annual retail revenue coming from visitors, our investments in driving tourism deliver value to people and businesses right across Wellington.”
Looking to the future, Mr Whelan said WREDA would focus on sustaining the momentum in Wellington’s visitor economy.
“We have no intention of resting on our laurels. The formation of WREDA gives us the power to manage an impactful events calendar, and industry-leading destination marketing campaigns within the one organisation. There’s a proven link between growth in the visitor economy, increased trade and increased investment. As such, continuing to set the bar high in this ‘shop window’ space is essential to our long-term prosperity.”