Visitor increase sees tourism boom

By Victoria White

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It was a busy start to the year for Palm City Motor Inn owner Helen Young, with increased visitor numbers to the region. Photo / Warren Buckland
It was a busy start to the year for Palm City Motor Inn owner Helen Young, with increased visitor numbers to the region. Photo / Warren Buckland

Hawke's Bay's tourism industry is booming as international and domestic visitors flock to the region.

Napier Motel Association secretary and Palm City Motor Inn owner Helen Young said they had seen a huge increase in visitors in January, which she thought was partly due to a "cracking summer".

"I think Hawke's Bay Tourism is doing a lot to promote the region, and with the developments on Marine Parade - word is getting out."

There had also been an increase of international visitors, Ms Young said, which she thought was because of the influx of overseas tourists to New Zealand.

According to figures reported by the Commercial Accommodation Monitor, there was a 13 per cent increase in Hawke's Bay visitor nights in January compared with January 2015 - with 18,794 more visitor nights.

Hawkes' Bay is now one of New Zealand's five best performing regions, recording the largest guest night increases year on year.

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the increase reflected the general upswing of tourism, which had now taken over dairy as the largest foreign exchange earner.

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said he was very aware of a substantial increase in tourism.

"When people travel, there is nowhere better to visit than Hawke's Bay", he said.

"We're offering an incredible product for travellers."

Mr Dalton said the challenge was to keep offering the region as a tourist destination, to make sure people who visited Hawke's Bay wanted to come back."

Hastings deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers said she thought the increased numbers had to be good for Hawke's Bay.

"There seems to have been a lot of visitors around the place," Ms Bowers said. "I think it's been vibrant around Hawke's Bay, you can see it and feel it.

"And why wouldn't there be? We have so much to offer."

Ms Dundas said this season had been particularly good with record numbers due to a larger number of people coming into New Zealand, and Kiwis travelling throughout the country.

The Commercial Accommodation Monitor showed the increase was made up of a leap in both domestic and international visitor nights.

International visitor nights rose 20.9 per cent to 41,357 with domestic visitor nights recording a 10.5 per cent increase, totalling 122 433. The overall occupancy rose from 50 per cent to 58.9 per cent.

Hastings Motel Association president and Claremonte Motor Lodge owner Julie Smith said they had been getting more Kiwi visitors. "This year has been up on any other year", she said. "We've been here for 10 years, and this January was the best month in any of them."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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