GrapeRiders big spenders

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 11:52 09/04/2014

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Electronic spending in Marlborough totalled $3 million last weekend as GrapeRide visitors packed out bars and restaurants.

Paymark figures showed on Saturday more than $1.6m was spent on electronic transactions and $1.3m on Sunday.

The hospitality industry reported brisk sales over the weekend from domestic and international tourists attending the GrapeRide, Marlborough Chamber of Commerce said.

The event attracted 4000 visitors from New Zealand, Australia, Britain and Asia.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce president Nikki de Reeper said the figures showed the economic potential of the GrapeRide.

Sporting events helped pick up trade during the shoulder season when tourist numbers started to dwindle, de Reeper said.

Events such as the GrapeRide and Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon showed the potential for the wine and leisure industry to work in tandem to boost the region's economy, she said.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said event visitors had a shorter length of stay than other leisure tourists but spend slightly more.

The Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon is the next big sporting event. The May 10 run is a sellout with 2700 competitors entered.

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- The Marlborough Express

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