Summer visitor numbers have been a "mixed bag" in Rotorua from December through to Waitangi Day which marked the last public holiday for the season.

Destination Rotorua's executive manager of visitor services Graham Brownrigg, who also manages the iSite, said visitor numbers through the Christmas and New Year period through to early January were great but had dropped off since.

"I guess a lot of that can be put down to the weather. We have a lot of people coming to Rotorua, but when the weather is good they are out and about doing stuff on the lakes.

"If you compare it to last year when the weather wasn't that great in January, that had an impact on people doing things around town rather than on the lakes."

Advertisement

He said although the beginning of December had soft visitor numbers, by Christmas numbers were topping previous years.

Graham Brownrigg from iSite hopes visitor numbers will pick up through the coming months after a decline in the past three weeks. Photo / File
Graham Brownrigg from iSite hopes visitor numbers will pick up through the coming months after a decline in the past three weeks. Photo / File

Looking ahead, Brownrigg said forward bookings were a good indication that February and March would be busier.

"Events play a big part in our February and March numbers. At that time of the year we are always full to the brim."

He said one theme he had noticed this year was many families were having "stay-cations" - holidaying in their own regions.

"That had a little bit of an impact on our domestic travellers as they stayed at home, but I have a gut feeling that people will start travelling again, so we might have a big influx of visitors through Easter."

He said although Rotorua was a drawcard for many visitors as the capital of Māoridom, he did not see an increase in visitors through Waitangi Day.

He said numbers from lunchtime yesterday indicated they had not been as busy as Waitangi Day last year but Brownrigg said they were still busier than normal due to the holiday.

However, temporary manager at Astray Hotel and Backpackers Kiren Kaur said the accommodation facilities had been popular through the summer period.

"It has been really great. We have been fully booked all week and are fully booked for the next three to four days."

Rotorua Downtown Backpackers agreed that bookings had been awesome but did not want to be quoted.

Solo traveller and adventure junkie Lauren McLachlan plans to return to Rotorua to do activities she hadn't been able to fit in this time. Photo / Leah Tebbutt
Solo traveller and adventure junkie Lauren McLachlan plans to return to Rotorua to do activities she hadn't been able to fit in this time. Photo / Leah Tebbutt

Visiting from Northern England Laura McLachlan had been in Rotorua for two days and had enjoyed white water rafting and the Canopy Tours.

"I'm heading down but I am heading back up the North Island and it's a place I am coming back to because there is quite a lot of stuff that I haven't been able to fit in."

She said she wanted to visit the Redwoods and check out the geothermal activities.

Travelling through a tour company, Hannah Martin from Germany had wished she was allowed more days in the area.

"I would definitely come here again, I think it is really interesting.

"When we went to the Māori village it was very, very emotional with the welcoming ceremony and I would love to find out more about that."

Both visitors said there weren't as many travellers around Rotorua as they thought there would be.