Australian, British and North American tourists are spending more time and money in Rotorua, latest statistics reveal.
For the 13th consecutive month, Rotorua has seen double digit growth in visits by North Americans (US and Canadian visitors), according to Rotorua Attractions and Activities Monitor statistics for November 2015.
Destination Rotorua trade marketing manager Patrick Dault said the declining value of the New Zealand dollar, combined with increased airline competition into New Zealand and the growing attractiveness of the destination, is contributing to international visitors doing and spending more during their visit to Rotorua.
Similarly, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) regional tourism indicators show double digit growth in the value of electronic purchases at Rotorua businesses by Australian, American and British visitors in almost every month over the past two years.
"It's fantastic to see strong demand from the US market even ahead of the new trans-Pacific flights announced last year. Given the loyalty Americans have to their own airlines, we are expecting to see even stronger growth once the direct mainland USA to Auckland services by American Airlines and United commence mid-2016," Mr Dault said.
Kiwi dollars are more affordable today than they were a year ago and while commercial accommodation nights continue to grow, couch surfing and staying with friends and family also continues to be a popular choice for some international visitor markets, he said.
Australians spent 214,000 nights in the homes of their Rotorua friends and family during the year ending November 2015, while British and North American visitors spent 63,000 and 45,000 nights respectively.
Experiencing the local cuisine and collecting mementos of travel is typically a popular activity with international visitors.
The MBIE regional tourism indicators for year ending November 2015 reveals double digit growth over the previous year in the value of electronic purchases by international visitors at Rotorua's dining premises (up 27 per cent), food retailers (up 25 per cent) and other retailers (up 20 per cent).
Rotorua Lakes Council Inner City Revitalisation portfolio leader Karen Hunt said Rotorua's vibrancy helped tourists spend their money.
"What with our dining precincts, the Rotorua Night Market and other inner city facilities, visitors come away with a highly satisfying experience which enables them to spread their spending into the wider business community.
"These facilities provide a public place for visitors to enhance their stay by meeting locals, with some of those meetings resulting in life-long friendships that lead to further spending through repeat visitation in future years," she said.