Tourism contribution to the Waikato region exceeds $1.4 billion
Tourism is making cash registers in the Waikato ring to the tune of $1.4 billion dollars.
Hamilton and Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson said the Waikato was now ranked fifth nationally for monthly visitor expenditure for August 2017.
It was challenging major tourism centres such as Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington.
In particular, the Waikato was making ground as a popular region for the conference market.
The news comes hard on the heels of an economic report showing Fieldays was now worth another $0.5 billion to the region.
It also followed Hamilton and Waikato Tourism's annual report, to the end of June, which showed tourism spending exceeded $1.419b.
In the breakdown, of the $1.419 billion, $1.06b was generated from domestic tourism and $353m from international tourism.
"We are seeing marked increases across the board and it is a testament to the hard work of our tourism, retail and hospitality providers within our region.
"Last August saw $101m spent in our region, which is a 4 per cent increase on spending from the same period last year," said Dawson
It was spread well across different services.
Retail sales measured $27m. Spending at restaurants, cafes and bars in the region totalled $16m while other tourism products garnered a $15m spend.
Fuel and sales of alcohol, food and drinks totalled $27m combined.
Cultural, recreation and gambling services gained $7m, with accommodation services and passenger transport taking in $5m each.
Adding the year to date, to the end of August 2017, Hamilton and Waikato had a total visitor expenditure of $1.448 billion, in fifth position behind Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington.
This is a 7 per cent increase on the previous year.
One of the big wins was in the conference market now moving up a spot behind Auckland and Wellington.
"Over the past 12 months the Waikato has improved its market share by 10.8 per cent edging out Queenstown for the spot."
Dawson was confident tourism was no where near its potential but was growing at a "steady rate".
Hamilton and Waitomo were looking at increasing accommodation but there was still a huge need for mid-tier providers in the region.