Tourism upswing

Spending rise in Gisborne three times the national average.

Spending rise in Gisborne three times the national average.

R&V (pictured) and East Coast Vibes 'welcomed a solid, positive crowd of visitors' over summer. File pictures
Gisborne's wineries are popular and often on tourists' to-visit lists.
Tatapouri.
Summer camping 'has been extremely popular since October'.

Gisborne experienced the nation’s biggest jump in tourism in the 12 months to January and industry bosses are planning to ensure more people here can share the benefits.

Latest regional tourism estimates from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show tourism spending in Gisborne rose more than three times the national average.

Visitor spending rose 14 percent over the 12-month period to the end of January. That was the biggest increase in New Zealand, and well ahead of Taranaki, the nation’s second best performer (up 9 percent).

Nationally, the average tourism spend increase was 4 percent.

Of the $166m spent in Gisborne, the majority ($134m) was spent by domestic visitors. An additional $29m was spent in the Opotiki district, which is also covered by regional tourism organisation Activate Tairawhiti (part of Eastland Community Trust).

ECT chief executive Gavin Murphy said the trend had built from previous foundations laid by others, coupled with the work over the last year-and-a-half by the Activate Tairawhiti team.

“We are confident the investment AT, via ECT, is putting into tourism will see us as a region continue to build on these positive statistics.”

Mr Murphy said efforts in destination marketing, including specific destination marketing campaigns in Auckland and Wellington to target major domestic markets, had also been key to the tourism upswing.

“Tourism has had strong growth nationally, so we are not alone in the increase in the activity, however, it is exciting for us to be so clearly present in that space. The hard work has only just begun and this year we are focusing on continuing this upward trend by working with tourism operators to develop and bring new products to market.

“For example, we are planning on taking four products to the national TRENZ tourism industry meeting this year — up from one last year.

The introduction of AT tourism development adviser Holly Hatzilamprou, is a fantastic regional asset, too. It means local providers now have a dedicated person to get them from point A to market.”

i-Site Gisborne visitor information centre manager Hana Edwardson said there had been some clear trends in visitor inquiries over the past few months.

“Summer camping has been extremely popular since October and we are still seeing a good number of permit requests through the i-Site doors.

“On top of that, R&V and East Coast Vibes welcomed a solid, positive crowd of visitors, too.”

Activities frequently front and centre for visitors included tried and true Tairawhiti Gisborne experiences, as well as a few new stand-outs.

“Dive Tatapouri and Gisborne Railbike Adventure were a summer hit with locals and visitors alike. Wineries, Harvest Cidery and Sunshine Brewery have also been high on to-visit lists.”

Walks and hikes had proved as popular as ever, with consistent enquiries for local eateries also noted.

About supporting local and providing authentic experiences

“A lot of visitors are wanting to plan two to four full days of experiences, which has been awesome. It has meant our staff have been able to help plan visits that showcase the best of Tairawhiti in all its beauty.”

Ms Edwardson said the i-Site was going through several changes as part of a soft refurbishment, including an interior paint job.

A major change was also under way to convert the in-house shop to a more local affair. Products like Gizzy Hard and Mokoira merchandise would soon be available.

“This is all about supporting local and providing the most authentic Tairawhiti experience possible at every turn.

“i-Site in any region should be all about people and place. That means every decision — including what we sell and promote — matters.”

Technological changes were also in the works, she said.

Staff and product providers are all upskilling and switching to consistent online booking systems and providers.

Bellweather, an electronic monitoring system, went live at the start of the month to record how many people walked through the doors each day, at what time of day and even what part of the building they spend the most time in.

IBIS, a point-of-sale and booking system that records where visitors come from, will go live in coming weeks.

“The more we know, the better,” said Ms Edwardson.

Gisborne experienced the nation’s biggest jump in tourism in the 12 months to January and industry bosses are planning to ensure more people here can share the benefits.

Latest regional tourism estimates from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show tourism spending in Gisborne rose more than three times the national average.

Visitor spending rose 14 percent over the 12-month period to the end of January. That was the biggest increase in New Zealand, and well ahead of Taranaki, the nation’s second best performer (up 9 percent).

Nationally, the average tourism spend increase was 4 percent.

Of the $166m spent in Gisborne, the majority ($134m) was spent by domestic visitors. An additional $29m was spent in the Opotiki district, which is also covered by regional tourism organisation Activate Tairawhiti (part of Eastland Community Trust).

ECT chief executive Gavin Murphy said the trend had built from previous foundations laid by others, coupled with the work over the last year-and-a-half by the Activate Tairawhiti team.

“We are confident the investment AT, via ECT, is putting into tourism will see us as a region continue to build on these positive statistics.”

Mr Murphy said efforts in destination marketing, including specific destination marketing campaigns in Auckland and Wellington to target major domestic markets, had also been key to the tourism upswing.

“Tourism has had strong growth nationally, so we are not alone in the increase in the activity, however, it is exciting for us to be so clearly present in that space. The hard work has only just begun and this year we are focusing on continuing this upward trend by working with tourism operators to develop and bring new products to market.

“For example, we are planning on taking four products to the national TRENZ tourism industry meeting this year — up from one last year.

The introduction of AT tourism development adviser Holly Hatzilamprou, is a fantastic regional asset, too. It means local providers now have a dedicated person to get them from point A to market.”

i-Site Gisborne visitor information centre manager Hana Edwardson said there had been some clear trends in visitor inquiries over the past few months.

“Summer camping has been extremely popular since October and we are still seeing a good number of permit requests through the i-Site doors.

“On top of that, R&V and East Coast Vibes welcomed a solid, positive crowd of visitors, too.”

Activities frequently front and centre for visitors included tried and true Tairawhiti Gisborne experiences, as well as a few new stand-outs.

“Dive Tatapouri and Gisborne Railbike Adventure were a summer hit with locals and visitors alike. Wineries, Harvest Cidery and Sunshine Brewery have also been high on to-visit lists.”

Walks and hikes had proved as popular as ever, with consistent enquiries for local eateries also noted.

About supporting local and providing authentic experiences

“A lot of visitors are wanting to plan two to four full days of experiences, which has been awesome. It has meant our staff have been able to help plan visits that showcase the best of Tairawhiti in all its beauty.”

Ms Edwardson said the i-Site was going through several changes as part of a soft refurbishment, including an interior paint job.

A major change was also under way to convert the in-house shop to a more local affair. Products like Gizzy Hard and Mokoira merchandise would soon be available.

“This is all about supporting local and providing the most authentic Tairawhiti experience possible at every turn.

“i-Site in any region should be all about people and place. That means every decision — including what we sell and promote — matters.”

Technological changes were also in the works, she said.

Staff and product providers are all upskilling and switching to consistent online booking systems and providers.

Bellweather, an electronic monitoring system, went live at the start of the month to record how many people walked through the doors each day, at what time of day and even what part of the building they spend the most time in.

IBIS, a point-of-sale and booking system that records where visitors come from, will go live in coming weeks.

“The more we know, the better,” said Ms Edwardson.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you agree with the call from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones for Gisborne to be developed as a wood-processing hub?