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Gisborne tourism shows best increase in NZ

INTERNATIONAL tourists are increasingly spending money here, as latest figures estimate the region to have experienced New Zealand’s largest monthly increase in visitor spending.

New monthly regional tourism estimates released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), showed that compared to April 2015, the Tourism Eastland region experienced a full 10 percent growth in spending — the highest growth for any regional tourism organisation in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Hawke’s Bay’s RTO, which experienced an 8 percent reduction in growth, is one of five regions to experience negative growth for the 12 month period.

Over the 12-month period, tourists spent $147.89m throughout the whole Tourism Eastland region, which also includes Wairoa and Opotiki.

This year also saw a rise in the amount spent by international travellers, who were estimated to have spent about $23m in Gisborne (up 8 per cent compared with the year to April 2015) and about another $3.6m across Wairoa and Opotiki.

However, overall spending in the Gisborne region fell $2m to $126.3, with retail spending ($29.06m) accounting for the biggest slice.

Domestic tourist spending fell 4 percent to $103m.

Still room for growthTourism Eastland chief executive Stuart Perry welcomed the figures but pointed out there was room for growth.

“It’s a pretty good result, considering the limited resources we have, and a real credit to all of our operators, event co-ordinators and sport organisers who collectively have attracted the visitors to our region.

“We promote OutEast as a region including Opotiki and Wairoa. Gisborne has the biggest growth potential across our region and needs to get into some serious marketing

“It is hard to believe we have ‘topped’ the growth numbers across the regions but this is very, very satisfying.

“There are always a few naysayers but let’s hope this encourages them to get behind the tourism industry and continue to grow jobs for the Eastland community OutEast.

“If we crank up the action with cruise ships, throw resources into growing event tourism, agriculture and aquaculture-related tourism, we could see some really startling results over the next few years.”

Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett said the way estimates were presented had changed this month, following calls from tourism industry stakeholders who wanted more usable and accurate statistics for regional tourism spending.

It replaces the regional tourism indicators.

“This new data provides an estimated dollar figure for how much international and domestic tourists are spending in each region, which is vital to help inform planning and investment for the tourism industry.”

The first data released in this new series estimates tourism spend which can be allocated to regions to be $2 billion for April 2016 (up 4 per cent from April 2015). International visitors contributed $740 million (up 10 per cent) and domestic tourists contributed $1.2 billion (up 1 per cent).