Rotorua Review: Summer months mean boost for tourism

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Summer is just around the corner, which means longer and warmer days, families coming together for holiday festivities, and maybe heading away if time and budget allows. It’s exciting news for local business, as the large number of international tourists planning to visit New Zealand during the warmer weather. Our tourism industry is in great shape. More people are coming, staying longer and are spending more.

We have a lot to offer when it comes to attracting people to visit. Our geothermal geysers, world-class mountain biking tracks, the famous Skyline Luge, and our superb Maori culture makes us a popular destination. It’s because of this that international tourism is our largest earner locally. It employs more people in the Rotorua area than any other industry and is a significant part of the local economy.

In August we celebrated our three millionth visitor to New Zealand over the past year.  Those three million visitors spent $8.7 billion - up 28 per cent on the previous 12 months. The good news is that visitor arrivals are expected to grow 4 per cent a year, reaching 3.75 million visitors in 2021. Tourism now represents 17.4 per cent of our total exports and is second only to dairy. 

The government has played its part with significant investment in promoting New Zealand and helping to drive this increase in visitors. We’ve invested more than $600 in tourism and tourism promotion since 2008 as part of our plan to diversify the economy. Directly and indirectly more than 170,000 people are employed as a result of tourism and is expected to grow. International visitor spend is forecast to increase by 48% to $11.1b by 2021. Tourism is a partnership between government and industry. It’s important that we continue to invest in this partnership if we are to offer a world-class visitor experience to the millions of people who want to visit.

Locally growth in the industry has been strong as well, after high levels of investment from Government and the hard work of local people. 

The most recent statistics show an increase of 4,400 international visitor nights in Rotorua, up 11 per cent on August last year. 

There was also a 17 per cent increase in visits by international tourists, driven by strong growth in Chinese and Australian visitors. 

These positive numbers in winter, traditionally the tourism off season, gives me great hope for high levels of visitors in the summer months – when tourism numbers are at their peak.

Of course, this has great spin offs for local business. Hotel and Motel owners, attraction operators, and local shop owners will experience a boost thanks to people visiting here and spending money locally.

Tourism is going from strength to strength and is one of our most important local industries. As it grows, it is creating more and better paying jobs throughout our region, creating opportunities for local people.