Waitaki tourism burgeoning

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New Zealand’s growing tourism industry is reflected in numbers that show guest nights in the Waitaki district for April were well up on the same month last year.
According to statistics recently released by Statistics New Zealand, guest nights in the Waitaki district increased by 12.5% for April.
There were 38,192 guest nights in April 2016, compared with 33,948 for April 2015.
Of those, 12,960 were spent at holiday parks, 12,939 at motels, 10,145 at hotels and 2147 at backpackers.
Annual guest nights also increased.
For the year ended April 2016, there were 420,229 guest nights compared with 384,204 for the year ended April 2015, an increase of 9.4%.
The Waitaki district had a 1.2% national share of guest nights in the monthly New Zealand accommodation market, a slight increase of 1.1% to the year ended April 2015.
Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill said the statistics were pleasing, and an increase in Waitaki’s guest night numbers reflected the national trend.
“The 32.2% [national] growth in international guest nights as reported by Statistics New Zealand supports what we’ve been seeing in Oamaru and throughout the district,” he said.
“The busy season carried on right through April, bringing a strong increase in tourist activity and spending to the Waitaki.
“Such growth is in line with the strengthening of the tourism industry in New Zealand. Tourism’s contribution to the Waitaki district economy continues to grow, as is confirmed by these increases in guest night and tourism activity.”
He said significant events in and around Oamaru in April, such as the Irrigation NZ conference and Maadi Cup rowing regatta at Lake Ruataniwha, also helped boost numbers.
“I think what we’re seeing is the peaks and valleys are there; the peaks are higher and the valleys are there too, and are lower. Relatively speaking, the higher season is still slower, but it’s higher than what it’s been for this time last year.”
He said the results did not reflect a longer tourism season, but rather a busier four seasons combined.
“We’re really pleased with the results and anticipate and hope they continue.”
Waitaki Tourism Association chairman James Glucksman said the results showed Waitaki was becoming a go-to destination for many tourists.
“The season seems to have been very good for just about everyone, and all indications that this should recur next year and perhaps even beyond.”
He said New Zealand was not alone in its tourism boom.
Mr Glucksman recently visited South America, and said tourism agents were “very optimistic” about the industry, even with a poor economy and political uncertainty in some South American countries.