Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Visit provides welcome boost for tourist businesses

Shotover Jet has had several inquiries after the royals went for a spin. Picture / Mark Mitchell
Shotover Jet has had several inquiries after the royals went for a spin. Picture / Mark Mitchell

The royals have crossed the Ditch but those they visited in New Zealand are seeing signs of an economic legacy.

Nigel Kerr, marketing manager for Queenstown's Shotover Jet, said there had been a noticeable upswing in bookings since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took a spin on one of its boats on Sunday. However, some of that could be attributable to Australian school holidays.

"Web and social media has definitely been more relatable to the royals ... there is a lot more conversation in the online space. How much that is flowing into bookings is very early days.

"We are sure there will be an upside, not just to our business but to tourism and Queenstown generally."

In Auckland, the royal couple raced each other on former Team NZ boats. Explore Group, which operates the boats as a tourist activity, has seen a surge in interest since images of the race were beamed around the world.

The company's website doubled its visitor numbers in the 24 hours after the event and more than 25,000 people responded to the match race through Twitter and Facebook.

The race received front page coverage in major British newspapers the Guardian, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, and on networks including CNN, ABC and Sky News.

Raewyn Jones, chief executive of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, said the town was used to hosting major cycling and rowing events, but the royal visit was on another level.

Cafes and places selling food reaped good takings on the day of the visit, but other retail businesses did not see big increases in sales.

"They were prepared for that ... it's more about the bigger picture of highlighting Cambridge and what we've got to offer."

Tourism New Zealand's general manager of corporate affairs, Chris Roberts, said international media exposure had been extensive.

"The coverage has been overwhelmingly positive about the country.

"The equivalent advertising value of this coverage would runinto the tens of millions of dollars."

Cashing in on the royals

• Businesses including Shotover Jet say they have had a surge in inquiries and website visits since hosting the royals.

• The equivalent advertising value of coverage received would run into the tens of millions of dollars, says Tourism NZ.

• Still too early to see exactly how bookings and visitor numbers may be affected.

- NZ Herald

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