Friday, 07 August 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Coromandel outshines rest of NZ in latest tourism figures

Early indications suggest the Coromandel tourism sector is weathering the COVID-19 storm better than any other region of the country, with one report even suggesting spending during May was up when compared to last year.

Marketview, the data agency which reports on tourism-related debit and credit card revenue, says transactions on the Peninsula totalled $20.234m during May, a 5.5 percent increase on the same month a year ago. A Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) report estimates that total tourism spending was down one percent when compared to May 2019. This is still a hugely positive figure and puts the Coromandel way ahead of the rest of the country where the month-on-month revenue losses range from 17 per cent in Whanganui to a massive 67 percent in Queenstown.

This relative success is being attributed to the Peninusla’s close proximity to three major urban centres and the post-lockdown return of non-resident holiday home owners. It also highlights the Coromandel’s already strong domestic tourism numbers with around 80 percent of all visitors coming from within New Zealand. This contrasts strongly with other regions where the high dependency on overseas travellers has taken a toll. According to Marketview, Auckland’s tourism spending was down 52 per cent for the month, Christchurch saw a 40 percent drop while Queenstown has been hardest hit, down 53 percent, although the start of the ski season is anticipated to deliver a bounce when the July numbers are revealed. Across the remainder of the Waikato, a 27 percent drop was reported.

While the Marketview and MBIE reports are using different measures and methodologies, they have produced a similar pattern in terms of the most and least impacted areas of New Zealand.

While noting the Peninsula was making good progress, Destination Coromandel general manager, Hadley Dryden, advised tourism and hospitality operators against any sense of complacency and urged them to take advantage of the additional opportunities available to market their businesses, including free listings on the Tourism New Zealand Website and thecoromandel.com.

“During lockdown in April, traffic to thecoromandel.com fell by over 80 per cent and then May saw a slight increase of 11 percent,” Hadley said. “During the week leading up to and including Queen’s Birthday Weekend, traffic increased 143 percent on the same dates last year. These were organically driven results, demonstrating the revival of interest in visiting the Coromandel.”

Destination Coromandel’s “Good for your soul” winter campaign has also generated a significant increase in traffic, with June 2020 seeing an increase of 165 percent compared with July 2019. Due to COVID-19, the campaign was launched a month early. “Through our digital campaign activity, we have generated over 10,000 website clicks, including more than 7,000 clicks directly to the packages and deals page,” Hadley said.

Tourism and hospitality operators are hoping for a significant boost over the winter school holidays. The Mercury Bay Events Support Trust and the Mercury Bay Business Association have combined with local businesses to develop and host a series of events over this week and next. The aim is to encourage visitors to the Mercury Bay area as well as providing additional incentives for locals to get out and about and support their local businesses. More details are available at www.whitianga.co.nz. Also see the advertisements of some of the events on page 18 of this week's Informer.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.