Tourism dollars keep coming in for Northland

Published 17th January, 2017

Tourism dollars spent in Northland continue to climb rapidly with latest figures showing $86 million injected into the region’s economy in November last year.

Annual visitor spend hit the $1 billion mark on October for the first time and the Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) shows Northland earned $1025 billion in the year to November 2016.

That was an 8.2 per cent yearly growth compared with November 2015.

The November tourism spend was $86m or $3m up from October.

The Far North with its tourism hub of Paihia earned $473m, Whangarei $445m and Kaipara $107m in the one year to November 2016.

Retail sales topped spending at $247m, food and beverage $148m, passenger transport $133m, other tourism products $111m, accommodation $78m, $70m worth of alcohol, food and beverage sales, fuel and other automotive products $67m, and $17m on cultural, recreation and gambling.

Northland Inc general manager regional promotions and tourism Paul Davis said the annual spend growth rate for the region was a healthy 8.2 per cent, just behind the national growth rate of 8.7 per cent.

He said tourism expenditure would rise again in December and January, the peak months
for domestic visitors coming to Northland while February would be watched with interest.

“February is the peak month for international arrivals in New Zealand, who spend more per day on average than New Zealanders. We expect healthy growth rates to continue for the February to April international visitor peak.”

Mr Davis said Northland was already the sixth largest region in terms of visitor spend, and the current growth would ensure the region maintained that position.

Northland Inc’s marketing to domestic and international consumers focused on building shoulder season numbers through digital channels and marketing to offshore visitors through the international tourism trade, he said.

This year, about 2000 British and Irish Lions fans are expected in Whangarei for the team’s game against the Provincial Union XV at Toll Stadium on June 3.

No vacancy signs are already up in hotels around Whangarei, which are still receiving queries from rugby fans from the United Kingdom.

Northland lags behind only Auckland, Waikato, Christchurch, Queenstown, and Wellington in tourism earnings.

New Zealand earned $25.7b from tourists in the year to November.