Outdoor roast beats kitchen time

Bumper summer a boost for bars and eateries

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013
Sunny
CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ

THE LIVING'S EASY: Matt Bullock, Jasmine Wong, Terri Bullock and Jemima Merrie with baby Zola, 5 months, enjoy Wellington's golden weather.

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Sunny skies and warm nights have had Wellingtonians forsaking the kitchen and visitors flocking into the city.

As the bumper summer season continues, restaurants, bars and hotels have been reaping the benefits, with more locals and visitors venturing out in the evening.

Restaurant Association national president Mike Egan, co-owner of several Wellington restaurants, said the industry was seeing greater foot traffic spread over more nights of the week.

"Everyone is revelling in the golden weather . . . Places that have an outdoor area are really noticing the extra people, but then some places outside have even been too hot at times, so other bars have benefited."

As more city-dwellers head to Oriental Bay to cool down after work, bars and restaurants have tempted customers on their way home who can no longer be bothered cooking.

St Johns Bar manager Prav Singh said: "The foot traffic has definitely increased and we're seeing lots more people out on Sunday afternoons, and Monday and Tuesday nights.

"I'd say it's easily one and a half times busier than last summer."

Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks said hotels, too, were making hay while the sun shone.

Bookings increased by almost 10 per cent in December and January, as a result of more people visiting the region.

"January is often the hardest month because corporate and conference bookings drop off with people on holiday, but this year we're seeing more leisure travel fill that gap," he said.

Events including the Hertz Sevens, last week's Twenty20 cricket match at Westpac Stadium, Te Papa's Game Masters exhibition and the Fringe Festival had drawn big crowds.

"Combine events with the fact that the weather is good and people are more inclined to make a last-minute decision and . . . come to Wellington for the weekend," Mr Perks said.

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- The Dominion Post

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