Waitaki tourism not so badly affected

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The Waitaki district’s tourism sector is better placed to deal with the Covid-19 fallout than many other areas in the country, the district’s head of tourism says.

Domestic tourists made up about 75% of Waitaki’s visitor economy, Tourism Waitaki general manager Margaret Munro said.

That made the region less dependent on the international market than areas such as Queenstown and Rotorua, she said.

“It still has an impact and we still have accommodation providers that do have high numbers of overseas visitors over our summer period,” she said.

“Our numbers up to January were really strong. It’s really going to be our remaining months of summer where the impact [will be felt].”

Nationally, the tourism industry was in a “holding zone,” she said.

“We are, in the international space, very dependent on airlines and what they are doing.

“The Government, as well, by adding more countries on to the list where they won’t let those people in.”

Mrs Munro said the domestic market had not seen the effects of the virus at this stage.

“Unless we get to that scenario where there are big increases in people contracting the virus then we are going to see a whole new shift in that part of the market.

“Hopefully it won’t get to that.”

With an increase in uncertainty for New Zealanders who had planned to travel overseas, it was possible some of those people would choose to travel domestically instead, Mrs Munro said.

“[We] have been increasing our domestic marketing anyway.

“It is already our biggest market – 75% of our visitors into our district are domestic and I don’t really see that changing.

“Oamaru has always seen as a cool place to come and visit for New Zealanders because it’s different than anywhere else.”