Visitor numbers defy trend

ROBINSON peter ojeffboard1 (Small).JPG
ROBINSON peter ojeffboard1 (Small).JPG
Waitaki tourism has gone against the national trend with an increase in tourists to the area last year, boosted by more New Zealand visitors.

While guest nights in New Zealand overall fell by 1.4% last year compared with 2008, Waitaki's total was up 9.2%, although the length of time they stayed fell slightly.

Visitors spent 295,024 guest nights in the district last year, compared with 270,285 in 2008.

The 2009 figures are in the Statistics New Zealand commercial accommodation monitor report, made available recently by the Waitaki Development Board, the Waitaki District Council-owned company which oversees tourism in the district.

In the Waitaki district, international guest nights fell by 1.7% last year compared with 2008, although that was better than the national average 2.8% drop. International visitors stayed 103,392 nights in the district last year, compared with 105,141 in 2008.

However, that was offset by strong growth in domestic guest nights, which last year rose 16% compared with 2008. Nationally, domestic guest nights fell by 0.5%.

In the Waitaki district, domestic visitors spent 191,632 nights last year, compared with 165,144 in 2008.

The average length of stay fell slightly from 1.54 nights to 1.49 nights, but the overall occupancy rate in all types of commercial accommodation, which includes camping grounds, rose from 12.3% to 13.9%.

Development board chairman Peter Robinson said the statistics were a highlight for the district when compared with national trends.

The board continued to focus on developing destination and products for the entire Waitaki district, as well as developing joint marketing initiatives with Tourism Dunedin and Tourism Central Otago for domestic and Australian promotions.

The Statistics NZ visitor accommodation model is compiled monthly for the Ministry of Tourism,from returns from accommodation providers - hotels, motels, backpackers and holiday parks.



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