Waipa wants more tourists

Waipa needs some work to reach its potential as a tourism and business destination.

That's what Waipa District Council's economic development manager Steve Tritt said when he spoke at a Te Awamutu Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday.

He said the Waipa is a high-traffic tourism destination, despite not having the glamour of Waitomo or Matamata's Hobbiton. "[Even though] we don't have thermals like Rotorua or the Shotover Jet like Queenstown, we're still very much in the game."

A total of $178 million is spent annually on tourism in the Waipa. Most of that business comes from domestic tourists, and Tritt said much comes from money spent in shops, cafes and petrol stations rather than just commercial tourist destinations.

He said opportunities for the region lie in conferencing, business tourism, national and international sports tourism, cultural tourism and nature tourism.

He said the council would like to increase Maungatautari's exposure.

"It's yet to get on the agenda, internationally. But it's not far away."