Visitor numbers on par with last Christmas

Visitor attractions in Waitaki appear to have remained popular with visitors over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, with most places noting similar visitor numbers to the previous year.

Tourism Waitaki marketing manager Megan Howell said visitor numbers in Oamaru for the last week in December and the first week in January were on a par with the previous corresponding period, but added that the wider Waitaki region had also received widespread publicity from tourism media outlets.

''There has been over 8000 visitors to Oamaru i-Site and Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony over this period. Numbers proving stable from the same period as last year.

''Before Christmas, Chris Viney, editor of Journeys magazine, cycled the Alps 2 Ocean Trail and wrote an article about his experience, which will be featured in the travel section of their February publication.''

That was ''excellent publicity'' for Oamaru and the Waitaki district, she said.

In January, Oamaru featured in a new marketing campaign for a well-known camper-van rental company, she said.

Visitor attractions elsewhere in North Otago were also busy.

The Vanished World Centre, in Duntroon, experienced a large increase in visitors immediately after Christmas.

Centre manager Alison Simpson said visitor numbers were ''definitely'' on a par with last year, but the centre was still ''very busy''.

''We average probably about anywhere between 700 and 100 people a day. We found actually December was quieter prior to Christmas, but since Christmas things have picked up very well.''

However, wet weather over the holiday period did deter some people.

Moeraki Boulders Gift Shop owner Scott Johnston, said numbers this year were probably down ''slightly'' from last year.

''The weather does play a part. No-one want to come to the beach when it's raining.''


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