Whanganui tourist operators had a strong summer, according to economic development agency Whanganui & Partners.
Data shows a record January visitor spend of $14.7 million. This is an 18.3 per cent increase from the previous January. Nationally, January visitor spend increased by 4.8 per cent.
December was another strong month, with $15.2 million spent by visitors in Whanganui.
The bump was driven by big increases in both domestic and international spending, Whanganui & Partners strategic lead – visitor industries Paul Chaplow said. It was up 19.9 per cent and 13.2 per cent respectively.
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"January saw an all-time record for international spend, with $3.3 million spent over the month. However, the bulk of our visitors are still from elsewhere in New Zealand, which is why we target our marketing campaigns to the domestic market."
Chaplow was happy with the success of Whanganui & Partners' summer promotional campaign, and said he will continue to promote the region as a weekend destination to domestic travellers into autumn - including a focus on the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail.
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He said the data reinforced the conversations he'd had with operators.
"We've had a busy summer season. For example, both the Waimarie and the Wairua are reporting record passenger numbers."
February spend data won't be available until the end of March, but based on the visitor numbers tracked at the i-Site, Chaplow expects February will also reflect continued year-on-year growth.
"We're also aware that this growth is likely to be interrupted from March and we'll be working closely with operators and agencies as we work through that."