Sun and events drive Wellington summer growth
Holidaymakers flocked to the capital in record numbers this summer, thanks to sunshine and an exceptional programme of events.
In the 121 days of November-February, the region hosted over 960,000 Commercial Guest Nights, a growth of more than 8% on the previous summer, which itself grew by 5.6% compared with 2013/14. This record total continues a strong growth trend for tourism in Wellington.
Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency Chief Executive Chris Whelan said the results suggested New Zealanders are seeking more from summer than just beach resorts.
“We saw a huge 14% increase in Domestic Guest Nights across November to February, which is a tremendous result for the businesses in Wellington’s visitor economy.”
The numbers also demonstrated the impact of a successful major events programme, Mr Whelan said.
“The single biggest driver of visitation to Wellington this summer was the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which brought an estimated 45,000 thousand people to the region. Add to that a series of big concerts, sporting events, Chinese New Year and Te Papa’s popular Dreamworks: The Exhibition and we had the foundation for a strong summer season.”
Mr Whelan also said the results were helped by a coordinated approach to promotion.
“Once upon a time Wellington’s visitor economy slowed down over summer, as business travel slowed and people tended to head to the beach. In recent years, we’ve focused on promoting our major events and exhibitions, packaging a ‘whole of Wellington’ destination experience around them. With such variety throughout the region, and exceptional walkability for event attendees in the city, Wellington delivers on this promise, and we’re seeing positive numbers as a result.”
Looking ahead, Mr Whelan said the visitor economy’s strong performance was making an atttractive case for further hotel development in the region.
“Hotels in Wellington averaged more than 80% occupancy over the period, and for the Tattoo, Wellington was at capacity right across the region. These results, and, more importantly the solid longer-term trends, have seen investment in Wellington hotel development increasing, and we’re working to ensure our visitor demand continues to support new capacity in the sector.”