Graduation days boost city

More than 1200 people will graduate from the University of Otago this month on two graduation days that are expected to inject more than $500,000 into the Dunedin economy.

More than 600 people will graduate in person from the university at two ceremonies, at 1pm and 4pm, in the Dunedin Town Hall tomorrow. And similar numbers will graduate in person at two further ceremonies the following Saturday. In total, more than 1860 people will graduate from the university this month, including those graduating in absentia, down only slightly on last year (1946).

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive  Dougal McGowan said the ceremonies were likely to inject more than $500,000 into the city economy during what would otherwise be a relatively quiet shoulder season for tourism.

He emphasised that indirect benefits of the graduations were also "really important", including positive experiences in Dunedin that could prompt more  trips to the city in the future.

Others could also be encouraged to head south after hearing favourable word of mouth from visitors returning to home towns and from "family and friends" throughout the country.

Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie said the May graduations were always good for the city, contributing positively to the  economy at a quieter time "when we want more visitors".

Otago Motel Association president Sue Rhodes said the many out-of-town visitors provided a "very welcome" boost for the motel sector, and for the overall "economy of Dunedin".

"It’s good for everybody."

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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