Tahuna Beach was busy on last Friday night for the Summer Sounds concert. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Tourists spent $616M in region


More airlines, a focus on seasonality and high-value markets means that Nelson Tasman continues to be the fastest growing tourism region in the country.
$616 million has been spent in the year to November in Nelson and Tasman combined, according to the latest regional tourism figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The amount of money spent in Nelson in the year to November is up 15.2 per cent to $337 million. Of that figure, $223 million was spent by domestic visitors and $114 million by international guests.
In Tasman, $279 million was spent, 7.5 per cent more than the $259 million spent the year before. Domestic guests spent $166 million of the $279 million while international guests spent $113 million in that period.
Retail purchases topped the tourist spending in the region, followed by passenger transport, food and beverage and accommodation services.
In terms of international visitor spending, the largest contribution came from tourists from Australia, followed by those from the United Kingdom, the United States and then Germany.
Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith has welcomed the figures, saying that tourism is the region is “booming.”
“[Tourism] has become one of Nelson’s most important industries,” he says.
“This growth is supporting thousands of jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors and reinforces the region’s broader economic success.”
Sharon Knight from Raglan Roast in Tahunanui says they are having one of their busiest summers ever, with coffee and gelato flying out the door. “We just get busier every summer, and it’s pretty much an even mix of international tourists and New Zealanders,” she says.
Nelson Regional Development Agency CEO Mark Rawson says that the region is getting more mature and capturing more than its fair share of visitors. “There is definitely more domestic visitation,” he says.
“It’s now an easier place to get to with more airlines on offer, particularly for visitors from Auckland and Wellington.”
Mark also says there is now a greater appreciation of the wider region and a big focus on seasonality – not just peak periods.
And while they don’t have the figures for the holiday period yet, Mark says December felt similar to last year, with tourism “really picking up” since Christmas.