It’s official: tourism is booming

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New tourism figures have backed up what people are noticing on the streets of Nelson – it’s been a big year for industry.

New figures from Nelson Tasman Tourism show a dramatic 7.7 per cent increase in the number of people staying the night compared to the previous year-end November statistics – exceeding the national average of 4.8 per cent.

Last month, Nelson Weekly was first to report the dramatic increase of visitors to the region, with Nelson Airport recording a 23 per cent increase in the number of passengers flying in and out of the region, which has been largely fuelled by three new airlines operating to the region.

Lynda Keene, chief executive of Nelson Tasman Tourism, says it’s a “great result” for the region, which has built on the steady growth that they have seen since July last year.

International guests staying the night were also up 6.7 per cent – just pipping the national growth result of 6.6 per cent. Domestic guest nights increased 8.2 per cent, compared to the national result of 3.7 per cent growth.

The region’s average length of stay also increased 6.33 per cent, which was the highest increase nationally.

Lynda says, “without a doubt,” the launch of Kiwi Regional Airlines, Jetstar and Originair have contributed to visitor growth.

“The region has received significant additional exposure by airlines promoting Nelson as a new destination and we’ll continue to work with them to ensure the early growth trends with increased passengers will continue over the next twelve months,” she says.

Lynda says the strong performance can also be attributed to strong marketing campaigns to promote the region’s many festivals and expos.

Lynda says the summer season has now “kicked in to high gear” with lots of Kiwis and international visitors soaking up the sun and enjoying the great outdoors and retail, food and wine. Nelson i-SITE visitor numbers are also up by 15 per cent.

“The majority of our international marketing is done to promote the high season in long-haul offshore markets, with increasing activities undertaken in Australia, China and India to encourage shoulder and winter month visitation,” she says.

“We anticipate continued growth from international and domestic travellers over the next two years and it’s heartening to see the tourism industry being such a positive economic contributor to the regional economy.”