Big events fill capital hotels in November

JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 15:47 10/12/2012
Hobbit premiere
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

Wellington's hotels were 99.7 per cent full on November 28, the night of The Hobbit world premiere.

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Wellington was at capacity for the world premiere of Sir Peter Jackson's latest film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, new data from Positively Wellington Tourism has shown.

On the night of the red carpet on November 28, overall hotel occupancy was at 99.7 per cent. During most of that week, the city's hotel rooms were 95 per cent full overall.

Hosting entertainment and industry events helped boost Wellington's tourism economy during November, attracting visitors to lift weekend hotel bookings 2.3 per cent during the weekdays from the same time last year.

Weekends were busy with out of towners, driving hotel occupancy up 12.8 per cent.

Events such as the gaming and animation industry conference Animfx and design conference Semi-Permanent attracted people to Wellington during November. Sell-out concerts from international artists such as The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and Ben Harper drew visitors from out of town.

''November saw back-to-back sell-out concerts ... followed by three consecutive weekends of major performance events at St James Theatre. This line-up will certainly have played a big role in November's strong growth in weekend room sales,'' Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks said.

Almost 30 per cent of tickets sold for the Wellington exclusive performance of Agatha Christie's play The Mousetrap went to visitors from outside the city. Positively Wellington Venues chief executive Glenys Coughlan said tickets to the play, with an Australian cast, sold "exceptionally well".

Perks said January was typically a weak month for the Wellington tourism industry and he was ''working through ideas'' to combat that in both the short and long term.

Wellington has more than 3.4 million domestic and 750,000 international visitors a year, spending $2600 a minute according to Economic Development Ministry Regional Tourism data.

Contact Jazial Crossley
Wellington business reporter
Email: jazial.crossley@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @msbananapeel

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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