Tourism boom expected for Wairarapa

PIERS FULLER
Last updated 15:08 20/02/2013

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The hot weather combined with a bumper events calendar is helping Wairarapa attract more tourists over summer.

Statistics New Zealand's visitor numbers show that Wairarapa guest arrivals in December were up more than 10 per cent on the previous year whereas guest arrivals nationally were only up 2.4 per cent for the same month.

Destination Wairarapa general manager David Hancock says the figures follow a positive trend of good domestic growth across the region. Destination Wairarapa has run campaigns targeting the domestic tourism market to draw people to Wairarapa.

The Summer of Music campaign highlighted the large number of music events being staged in the region and the tourism promoter also ran campaigns leading up to the recent Wings Over Wairarapa and the Shear Fest which is under way now.

"It's been a brilliant summer with weather and the events have been outstanding," he says.

The Wings Over Wairarapa Community Trust has commissioned a detailed report on where money was spent over the period of the event this January.

The trust is also assessing the results of a survey which attracted 4000 responses about the air show. Trust chairman Bob Francis says the feedback suggests there are several ways they can improve the event and make it even better in 2015.

Wairarapa featured highly in the awards by Trade Me's accommodation website Travelbug.

Canterbury came first followed by Wairarapa and Auckland.

Mr Hancock was thrilled the region did well in the TravelBug awards reflecting how a small region could provide top-class traveller experiences to domestic and international visitors.

Masterton's Acorn Estate Motel was one of four accommodation providers nationwide that received Best in Region awards for a second consecutive year.

Guest nights and visitor nights were down significantly in the six months leading up to November 2012 versus November 2011, but much of this drop can be attributed to the spike in visitors for Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Destination Wairarapa is currently looking at initiatives that will promote tourism over winter.

"We certainly have some fun and interesting programmes that we think will bring visitors for winter," says Mr Hancock.

One of New Zealand's largest retail chains has confirmed it will hold a conference in Wairarapa in September, which will book out nearly all motel accommodation in Masterton and Carterton.

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- Wairarapa News

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