Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, Visit Ruapehu and Destination Great Lake Taupo have dipped their collective toes into the Australian self-drive market.
‘We’re suggesting our Tasman neighbours pick up a car in Auckland, visit the iconic sights such as Hobbiton and Waitomo during the weekend, and then come and ski Ruapehu mid-week,’ explains Michelle Caldwell, marketing representative for Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.
With the collective tourism growth across the Central North Island gathering momentum it was not surprising to see nearly 200 inbound operators brave the rain to attend the eXplore trade show at Eden Park in Auckland yesterday.
Vanessa Payne, eXplore Central North Island marketing coordinator says the growth is in line with Tourism New Zealand’s increased weight on the regions and seasonal spread. ‘The regions offer significant alternatives in pressure times.’
‘We’ve seen the growth accelerate over the last 12 to 16 month,’ says Jason Dawson CEO of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism. ‘Hamilton’s annual $1.394m visitor spend has put us in fifth place nationally behind Auckland, Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington.
The ‘pancake rocks’ at Punakaiki and the glaciers at Fox and Franz Josef are well known drawcards to the West Coast, but the region is now looking at ‘adding to its magnets’.Jim Little, chief executive Tourism West Coast, says promoting and developing new product on the coast is essential in terms of dispersal and adding more reasons for people to visit and stay longer.
‘For example, we’ve got the Oparara Arches at Karamea. Visitors can access these now and take a guided walk to see moa bones – probably the only moa bones that can be easily seen outside a museum. We are looking
The permanent opening of State Highway 1 and the redevelopment of Kaikoura Marina are expected to get the region fully back and running by the summer.
However, Glenn Ormsby, general manager of Destination Kaikoura, was reiterating at this week’s Regional Tourism Offices of New Zealand (RTONZ) workshop for inbound operators that the district is already open for business.
Tourism operators are joining a call for the government to stop talking and start managing (and funding) our tourism resources.
Last week, seasoned tourism consultant Dave Bamford blogged that an overarching sustainable tourism action plan was urgently needed.
‘Three months on from the release of the much awaited McKinsey Report the big questions remain unanswered.
Auckland Airport and Tainui Group Holdings will develop a new five-star hotel adjacent to Auckland Airport’s international terminal and the existing four-star Novotel hotel. The 250-room hotel will be operated by AccorHotels as a Pullman. The hotel is scheduled to open by late 2019.
While the additional hotel development has long been a feature of Auckland Airport’s ‘airport of the future’ vision, Mark Thomson, Auckland Airport’s general manager - property, says the timing has been influenced by
New Zealand was just 61 visitors away from reaching the milestone of 3.5 million international visitors for 2016.
‘Our challenge now is to maintain the growth trajectory in a sustainable way,’ Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.
There were 3,499,939 short-term arrivals for 2016, up 12% or an additional 368,000 visitors on the previous year. This was the biggest ever increase in international visitors for a single year.
A plan to transform the Taupō District into New Zealand’s premier ski destination has gained support from Taupo District Council who yesterday approved $100k of funding for the next two years to help bring the dream to reality.
In a presentation from Ruapehu Alpine Lifts chief executive Ross Copland, councillors heard the company’s $100 million dollar plans to put Mt Ruapehu on the world stage as the country’s ski region of choice.
‘Whakapapa and Turoa ski fields had significant points of difference to the ski offerings of the South Island and it was time they were capitalised on,’ he says.
The general manager of Destination Marlborough, Tracy Johnston, has announced her resignation.
No firm date has been given for her departure and Johnston will work through the transition phase once a replacement is announced.
Johnston has been in the role of general manager for almost eight years and has driven a programme of growth in visitor activity endorsed by local stakeholders, with the full support of the New Zealand tourism and travel sector.
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says Destination Marlborough has played a pivotal role in helping the region reap strong economic rewards from tourism.
A proposed new visitor levy for Auckland has been slammed by Tourism Industry Aotearoa.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s proposed targeted rate on accommodation providers is forecast to capture $20 to $30 million a year.
‘It is inequitable to target commercial accommodation providers when the benefits of tourism are spread throughout Auckland’s economy,’ TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says. ‘And it is wrong of the mayor to suggest that visitors are not already paying their way.’
Tourism spend in the last year in Auckland was $7.37 billion, an increase of $1.519 billion or 26% in the past two years. Domestic spend was $3.414 billion (up 12.5% in the last two years), and international spend was $3.956 billion (up 41%).
Let’s not forget roads and water – and community resistance. As the spotlight focused on assessing infrastructure needs urgently needed to cope with New Zealand’s booming tourism industry, the country’s local government head warned that the two most essential issues had been left off a priority list.
At the Tourism Industry Association (TIA) Summit, in Wellington on Wednesday, more than 250 industry leaders were updated on a National Tourism Infrastructure Assessment, aimed to identify what’s needed to support rising visitor numbers.
Wellington Airport’s new $58 million terminal extension was opened by Prime Minister John Key this week.
The main terminal building and apron has been extended by an additional 6000sq m – the equivalent of 12 basketball courts – and includes more parking spaces for aircraft, improved passenger facilities, a centralised screening point and easier movement for travellers throughout the terminal.
‘The extension can now cater for up to 1500 passengers we see during the busy hour each day,’ says Wellington Airport CEO Steve Sanderson.
‘Passenger numbers are up by 5.6% with a record five million domestic passengers travelling through the airport in the past 12 months.
Stable and low air fuel prices, a booming inbound market and a strong New Zealand economy all augur well for the future of Air New Zealand, an Auckland SKAL lunch heard yesterday.
Richard Thomson, general manager of networks at Air New Zealand, was guest speaker at the lunch at Parnell Rose Gardens and noted that the only ‘blot’ on the horizon was tourism infrastructure in this country.
‘If I was to worry about anything it would be about the New Zealand tourism industry’s ability to cope – especially over the next high season,’ Thomson says.
He points out that a considerable percentage of high yield passengers tend to book later in the year.
While infrastructure investment was being welcomed at the inaugural New Zealand Tourism Investment Summit in Auckland this week, Tourism New Zealand revealed it is also hoping the Chinese may help alleviate another pressing issue – dispersal of visitors.
Tourism New Zealand director of trade, PR and major events Rene de Monchy told delegates the agency is working with trade in China to encourage Chinese tourists to travel beyond the main hotspots of Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown to the top of the South Island and Wellington.
The pilot campaign, which is still in development, will also see Tourism New Zealand work with regional tourism organisations and operators to provide the experiences Chinese tourists want.
Rene de Monchy also said Tourism New Zealand’s campaign featuring filmmaker James Cameron is being well received in China.
New Zealand’s biosecurity border levy tax, introduced earlier this year, was an influencing factor in a leading cruise line not increasing capacity to the country this year.
Stuart Allison, vice president Australia & New Zealand Princess Cruises, says New Zealand is one of the most expensive places to cruise to.
‘We love it and our guests love it, but next year we are increasing capacity to the Pacific Islands and not to New Zealand. The border levy has an influence in that.’
Speaking during the World’s Leading Cruise Lines Summit aboard Carnival Spirit over weekend, Allison and other cruise leaders reiterated the difficulty of passing on such fees and levies to customers – especially when a tax is introduced without consultation and time to plan.
New Zealand needs a clear vision and a long-term strategy for management of freshwater that reflects the values of Kiwis, says tourism industry leaders. And they say the importance of quality freshwater to the tourism industry is often overlooked.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts says clean freshwater is vital to the growth and sustainability of New Zealand’s $30 billion tourism industry.
‘Healthy freshwater ecosystems are fundamental to supporting the natural landscapes that are the primary reason visitors travel to New Zealand. They are also integral to many tourism activities such as rafting, jetboating, swimming and fishing.
Lesley Immink, chief executive of the Tourism Export Council NZ (TEC), says a national freshwater policy statement that only aspires to ’wadeable’ water equates to a marketing disaster for New Zealand.
The return of cruise ships to Lyttelton is an objective of Cruise New Zealand, the organisation heard at its annual general meeting last night.
Kevin O’Sullivan, chairman Cruise New Zealand says one measurement of success for the organisation will be to get the ships back in there by 2025, but it should actually be quicker. ‘That’s nine years away and really we could perhaps see it happen in three (years) but we are being conservative.’
He says that the organisation is continuing to lobby for Lyttelton to improve its capacity for cruise ships. ‘Although Akaroa has worked well it is important that berths are ready in Lyttelton in the next few years for larger cruise ships. Otherwise Canterbury will not gain the significant benefits from increased passenger numbers that could be available.’
In his chairman’s report. O’Sullivan also highlighted that Cruise New Zealand has been invited by Auckland City Council to participate in a study on the future of Auckland’s port. ‘Although the long term thrust from this study is to re-locate the port elsewhere, each option evaluated (in the study) recommended that cruise ships remain
The infrastructure challenges facing the cruise sector in New Zealand extend well beyond the country’s harbours, according to the new chair of Cruse New Zealand Debbie Summers.
She says that while there is a real need to improve port facilities and access, issues such as lack of high-season accommodation in Auckland and Queenstown also have an impact.
‘The ships are getting bigger all the time and that trend will continue. We need to look at issues like dredging to ensure they can use out ports.
‘But a lot of cruise activity is beyond the port of call and sometimes people don’t realise the importance of that.’
Summers, who is executive director of ID New Zealand, says the company operates overland tours for passengers from Milford, who travel to Queenstown, stay overnight and head to Dunedin to pick up the ship. ‘That represents a double spend. The numbers are capped at 200 by DOC at present but we are looking at growing those.’ She says passengers also do pre and post tours out of Auckand, plus overlanders between Auckland and Wellington.
A respected nature tourism consultant, and former national park ranger, has called for more strategic thinking at senior government level to manage the projected growth in tourism.
‘We need more analytical and strategic thinking, from both MBIE and the Department of Conservation (DOC), about the future management of our special conservation areas,’ David Bamford says. Bamford says that attending the TRENZ in May, where the focus had all about tourism growth, has made him concerned as to how that growth in our national parks and other special places can possibly be managed. ‘After years of backing the right to freely access our public conservation land I’ve changed my mind, It’s time to look at new solutions to fund our conservation estate,’ he wrote in a recent blog. ‘Elsewhere in the world visitors not only expect to pay for the privilege of enjoying national parks, they believe it’s right to contribute. Social and environmental pressure such as crowding, traffic, people, noise, waste and increasing demand on facilities need to be actively managed.’
Bamford raises the suggestion of trialling a targeted national park entry fee at up to ten of our most popular sites. He says the technology needed is available, and a precedent already exists with the current visitor levy to Stewart Island, collected as a $5 per visitor fee.