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NZ’s tourism growth not necessarily heading to Hawke’s Bay

Dec 11th, 2015 | By | Category: Latest News, News

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A Hawkes Bay Vineyard bathed in their famously good weather (wikipedia.com)

HUGE increases in tourists visiting New Zealand over the past few years have coincided with a change in the Hawkes Bay tourist population, but not necessarily an increase.

While general and especially Chinese visitor numbers have been rising steadily nationally, Europeans, Australians and Americans were the most common foreign patrons to local businesses Gannet Beach Adventures and Clearview Estate winery.

“We’ve seen a change in the demographics of it but we haven’t seen an increase,” said Colin Lindsay, the Manager of Gannet Beach Adventures.

Mr Lindsay said that while European visitors had always found it a popular spot, Germans had a strong presence now, while more Dutch were choosing to visit a few years ago.

As for why they come? “The weather, definitely.”

World events could put off numbers in tourists. Mr Lindsay said they saw dips in numbers after large scale terrorist attacks.

“With the September 11 bombings we saw a big drop off in people travelling that season.”

He said the latest ISIS attacks were a “wait and see” scenario.

Charles Gear, the General Manager at Clearview Estate winery said Australians, British, Europeans and Americans were their most frequent foreign visitors.

They got a lot of patronage from cruise ships, but also from independent travellers and smaller groups.

The winery worked with groups like Hawkes Bay Tourism and other local tour operators, but Mr Gear agreed the weather was a real drawcard for Hawkes Bay.

“Sunshine, food and wine, it literally ticks all the boxes.”

They saw a bit of a dip after the global financial crisis, but have noticed an increase in tourists since.

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Graph showing visitor numbers to New Zealand by source region, for the past six years. Figures are for the year to October.

Continuing ongoing trends, the number of Chinese visitors is up 38.3% to 27,000 for October this year compared to October 2014 according to this month’s travel and migration report from Stats NZ.

Visitors count as those who travel to New Zealand for a period of twelve months or less.

Overall visitor travel to New Zealand was up 9% in the year to October, with 1.3 million Australians making up a third of the 3.06 million visiting our shores.

The year to September marked a record 3.04 million visitors to New Zealand and October’s numbers have beaten this by 20,000.

Most of the increase comes from people on holiday, but those visiting friends or relatives also made up 20% of the visiting numbers in October.

The year to October also marked the first year since 1991 that for number of migrants from Australia to New Zealand has exceeded those moving the other way, with 25,000 crossing the ditch in this direction over the past year.

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