Wine capital of NZ

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 13:49 10/03/2014
wine tasting
Emma Allen

Wine tasting: Tim Adam from Astrolabe Wines, Brett Bermingham, Michael Collins and Shane Dobson from Nautilus wines

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Marlborough wineries have hosted more than 215,000 international wine tourists in the past five years, according to new figures.

Tourism New Zealand statistics show Marlborough wineries are the most popular in the country, with an average of 43,018 overseas wine tourists a year.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said it was comforting to have confirmation of the region's popularity, but the statistics did not surprise her.

Wine tourism was a consistent attraction strategy for New Zealand and Marlborough, she said.

The national data released last week was based on Statistics New Zealand international visitor survey and immigration arrival cards.

It defined a wine tourist as someone from overseas who visited a winery as part of their holiday.

The majority of wine tourists were from Australia, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan and Canada.

Ms Johnston said she was happy to see an increase in visitors from several countries, and from Germany in particular.

She was confident the region was "ticking along" when compared with the overall wine tourism figures.

"It's an interesting observation for us. It is a really good insight and I am confident in terms of the way we are targeting travellers."

They mainly stayed in hotels and motels, though nights at luxury resorts were increasing.

International wine tourists stayed an average of 18.6 days.

"It's great - they stay longer and see more. The wine industry is a natural drawcard," Ms Johnston said.

The report also showed wine tourists liked to do other activities such as watching wildlife, arts and crafts and sightseeing.

"One of the key messages is that people aren't solely here for wine. They are attracted by the wine but they are always interested in other activities," Ms Johnston said.

"The really exciting thing is that it is more than a wine tourism destination. Visitors enjoy the rest of the activities Marlborough has to offer. We deliver that [other] experience as well."


WINE TOURISTS

More than one million international tourists have visited a New Zealand winery in the past five years, an average of 220,000 a year.

Most come from Australia, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan and Canada. Most are aged 25-34 and 55-64. They spend on average $3700, compared with other visitors who spend $2800.

Most travel as couples.

They travel independently, with just 3 per cent part of a tour group.

They stay an average of 18.6 days compared with the total visitor average of 14.4 days.

They predominantly visit as part of their holiday rather than on business or for education.

They mainly stay in hotels, though there is growing interest in luxury resorts, lodges and retreats.

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- The Marlborough Express

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