Visitors up in region

Local gardens in this year's Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular had more feet through on the back of a 2000 increase in visitor numbers to the Taranaki region compared to last year.

Garden visit numbers for the Taranaki region were nearly 54,000 compared to around 52,000 in 2011, which Festival Manager Lisa Ekdahl says is a fantastic visitor number in a struggling economy.

About 75 per cent of the visitors were from out of the area. Tour groups hit a record this year bringing nearly 250 visitors to the region from as far afield as Australia.

The 10-day festival, October 26 to November 4, enjoyed sunny spring weather except for two days of rain and wind.

Taranaki Regional Council Regional Gardens Manager Greg Rine says Hollard Gardens was abuzz during the opening weekend of the festival.

"Almost all in Stratford recorded an increase in visitor numbers. Cairnhill had 42 more, Mountside 170 and Oslter's 100 more. Also the new garden Hofmans added to the interest in Eltham and Lockinge in Kapuni had an increase of 100 visitors," says Lisa.

Stratford Information Centre manager Trish Dent says their visitor numbers for the period were on par with last year, though the 2011 figures included the tail-end of visitors to last year's Rugby World Cup.

- Stratford Press

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