Surge in visitor numbers to Oamaru

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Oamaru’s popularity amongst tourists continues to rise, with the town experiencing an increase in guest nights, international visitors and domestic visitors.

Oamaru and Waitaki Valley guest nights have jumped by 20.5 per cent. International visitors were up 28 per cent, while domestic visitor numbers rose 17.5 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand Commercial Accommodation Monitor for the 12 months to August 2014.

Tourism Waitaki marketing manager Ian Elliott said praise from Lonely Planet came after these statistics were documented.

“While the Lonely Planet praise only came recently, it seems the message about the town’s offerings has already reached tourists.”

Mr Elliott said it was pleasing to see more visitors coming to Oamaru.

“It really just shows off all the hard work everyone has done to try and make Oamaru as visitor friendly as possible and it seems to be working.”

He said the rise in the number of guests to the area was due to Oamaru gaining more recognition worldwide.

“Being named the coolest town in Lonely Planet obviously helps, but a lot of people hear about the Steampunk and just what is on offer in Oamaru and the Waitaki Valley.”

Making sure that international visitors continued to visit was important, and Mr Elliott said that so far all the signs were pointing to another increase next year.

“I’ve seen from May this year onwards and it looks pretty promising for the future.”

The district’s main goal is to continue attracting people to the area.

“People always love coming to see the penguins, but we hope they continue to come to the area and stay longer, but also tell friends to head this way.”

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY