At New Plymouth District Council's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre, an exhibition of tapestries smuggled out of Afghanistan attracted around 21,800 visitors, with around 16,000 coming from outside Taranaki.
'There Is No Other Home But This' ran as an exhibition at the Gallery from March to mid-June, and featured works from Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington-based Areez Katki and Sydney-based artist Khadim Ali.
Spanning embroidery, sculpture, painting and animation, the works connected contemporary life with the two artists' shared Persian heritage.
Gallery director Dr Zara Stanhope says the Gallery has long been a destination for cultural tourism.
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"This was underscored when Lonely Planet acknowledged the Len Lye Centre in 2017's second-best regional destination accolade.
"The strong numbers through this exhibition signals that the Gallery and contemporary art have a role to play in attracting visitors to Taranaki, and supporting the regional economy, and can attract a large and engaged audience based on our exhibition programmes, despite changes in visitor patterns as we all navigate Covid-19."
Data provided by Venture Taranaki supports this, finding that the region was one of the fastest-growing in terms of visitor spending over the past year, up 10 per cent year-on-year to the end of February, with culture and tourism experiences amongst the fastest-growing sectors.
Stanhope recalls many of the visitors saying that they haven't been to Taranaki in years.
"They have been impressed by what they've found here, including the Gallery, where our audience survey has found a record 93.6 per cent of visitors are having a positive experience."
Find out more about upcoming exhibitions and activities at govettbrewster.co