Gisborne enjoys phenomenal tourist season

Bookings are overflowing with nearly 1.3 million visitor nights last year.

Bookings are overflowing with nearly 1.3 million visitor nights last year.

File picture

ECONOMIC confidence combined with summer events and increasing numbers of people visiting Gisborne is making it harder for people to find accommodation.

Latest statistics show Gisborne enjoyed nearly 1.3 million visitor nights last year. With the Eastern Region junior surf lifesaving championships pulling in more visitors at the weekend, most hotels and motels were fully booked, even before the start of the weekend.

Quality Hotel Emerald general manager Stuart Geddes said he was “chuffed” with the way the summer period was going for the hospitality sector.

“There are a couple of things that have ensured the summer season has remained positive. There is a lot more of the international FIT (Free Independent Traveller) market coming in. You can see it across New Zealand.

“We’re experiencing the same trend and experiencing the same high levels of occupancy. I think it’s got to do with an increase in confidence. We are finding there is a lot more business confidence out there.”

A “buoyant economy” meant a lot more people were extending holiday stays and those that were here, were spending more because there was more disposable income available to people, he said.

“Business came back sooner, people stayed longer on holidays, we’ve seen it across the board and it’s continuing. We are still seeing it in February. Our weekend occupancy has been fantastic.”

Mr Geddes said there had also been more events in Gisborne over summer including an extended Sun Splash Festival. Improvements to Tairawhiti Museum and other local facilities had been a catalyst for the region being able to offer more value to visitors.

“The summer season for us has been phenomenal. I think some of that has got to do with the weather, the events that have occurred.”

Tourism Eastland chief executive Stuart Perry said latest figures from Statistics NZ showed that in the year ending December 31, 2015, overall occupancy rose by 2.4 percent compared to the previous 12-month period.

1.295 million visitor nights

The private accommodation monitor provided by APR (market retail consultants) also showed a 2.9 percent increase in visitors, rising to 1.295 million visitor nights for the year ended November 2015.

“There was a slight decrease in commercial occupancy in the region over December but since then the visitor flows have been very strong.

“Many operators are reporting a very busy January, with some hitting the high 90s in occupancy. That is very healthy and encouraging for the industry.

“We are aware that there are some weekends in February where there is not a commercial bed available. There may be some homestays but generally there seems to be an increase in numbers for February.”

Mr Perry said he hoped it was a positive trend and not just a temporary blip in the graph.

The Teal Motor Lodge was one of many motels that were fully booked midweek of last week. Manager Stewart Haynes said they had to turn people away.

“Overall, from our point of view, we have had an extremely good summer. February is the perfect storm. You have overseas folk coming here to take advantage of the weather, you have our corporate reps and the corporate trade returning for the year, and you have domestic leisure. So you have got all those folk out and about.”

Mr Haynes said at the moment the domestic market included couples without children and a “large component” of retirees.

Hospitality New Zealand regional manager Chris Hince said it had certainly been a good summer and Gisborne had benefited from a reasonable increase in tourism.

“There have been a couple of days were it has been hard to find motel rooms, There are usually some rooms to find. It just takes some effort.”

Mr Hince recommended that anyone struggling to find a room should ask at a motel that was a member of Hospitality NZ (formerly the Motel Association of NZ), as they would be able to log on to the internal Duty Motel online system.

“It’s a very good system. It’s not for public use but it’s quite good if the public know it’s there.”

ECONOMIC confidence combined with summer events and increasing numbers of people visiting Gisborne is making it harder for people to find accommodation.

Latest statistics show Gisborne enjoyed nearly 1.3 million visitor nights last year. With the Eastern Region junior surf lifesaving championships pulling in more visitors at the weekend, most hotels and motels were fully booked, even before the start of the weekend.

Quality Hotel Emerald general manager Stuart Geddes said he was “chuffed” with the way the summer period was going for the hospitality sector.

“There are a couple of things that have ensured the summer season has remained positive. There is a lot more of the international FIT (Free Independent Traveller) market coming in. You can see it across New Zealand.

“We’re experiencing the same trend and experiencing the same high levels of occupancy. I think it’s got to do with an increase in confidence. We are finding there is a lot more business confidence out there.”

A “buoyant economy” meant a lot more people were extending holiday stays and those that were here, were spending more because there was more disposable income available to people, he said.

“Business came back sooner, people stayed longer on holidays, we’ve seen it across the board and it’s continuing. We are still seeing it in February. Our weekend occupancy has been fantastic.”

Mr Geddes said there had also been more events in Gisborne over summer including an extended Sun Splash Festival. Improvements to Tairawhiti Museum and other local facilities had been a catalyst for the region being able to offer more value to visitors.

“The summer season for us has been phenomenal. I think some of that has got to do with the weather, the events that have occurred.”

Tourism Eastland chief executive Stuart Perry said latest figures from Statistics NZ showed that in the year ending December 31, 2015, overall occupancy rose by 2.4 percent compared to the previous 12-month period.

1.295 million visitor nights

The private accommodation monitor provided by APR (market retail consultants) also showed a 2.9 percent increase in visitors, rising to 1.295 million visitor nights for the year ended November 2015.

“There was a slight decrease in commercial occupancy in the region over December but since then the visitor flows have been very strong.

“Many operators are reporting a very busy January, with some hitting the high 90s in occupancy. That is very healthy and encouraging for the industry.

“We are aware that there are some weekends in February where there is not a commercial bed available. There may be some homestays but generally there seems to be an increase in numbers for February.”

Mr Perry said he hoped it was a positive trend and not just a temporary blip in the graph.

The Teal Motor Lodge was one of many motels that were fully booked midweek of last week. Manager Stewart Haynes said they had to turn people away.

“Overall, from our point of view, we have had an extremely good summer. February is the perfect storm. You have overseas folk coming here to take advantage of the weather, you have our corporate reps and the corporate trade returning for the year, and you have domestic leisure. So you have got all those folk out and about.”

Mr Haynes said at the moment the domestic market included couples without children and a “large component” of retirees.

Hospitality New Zealand regional manager Chris Hince said it had certainly been a good summer and Gisborne had benefited from a reasonable increase in tourism.

“There have been a couple of days were it has been hard to find motel rooms, There are usually some rooms to find. It just takes some effort.”

Mr Hince recommended that anyone struggling to find a room should ask at a motel that was a member of Hospitality NZ (formerly the Motel Association of NZ), as they would be able to log on to the internal Duty Motel online system.

“It’s a very good system. It’s not for public use but it’s quite good if the public know it’s there.”

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