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Tourism so good business does not need to advertise

Dec 12th, 2016 | By | Category: Latest News, News

 

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A Central Otago business owner has spotted a cost-saving perk thanks to New Zealand’s latest annual increase in overseas visitors.

Overseas visitor arrivals to the country hit 3,386,685 in the 12 months to September 2016, up 11% from the previous year, according to Statistics New Zealand’s monthly International Travel and Migration report.

One business affected by the boost is Phil Oliver’s Alexandra bike-hire company, Altitude Bikes.

“I probably don’t have to advertise as much, put it that way,” Oliver says.

Alexandra sits on the Otago Central Rail Trail, a key tourist drawcard for the region, and while Oliver is not sure how many travellers Altitude Bikes has catered to in the last year, he has certainly seen more overseas visitors coming through.

“It’s pretty noticeable, for sure.

statsgraph“I’ve noticed that we are a lot busier with casuals and F.I.Ts [Free Independent Travellers].”

Oliver says Australians are the biggest overseas visitor group he sees, followed by Europeans and North Americans.

The report states Australians visited New Zealand 1,384,432 times in the 12 month period, a 6% increase, or 80,048 more visits, than the year to September 2015.

There was also a rise in visitors from Europe (10%), the United States (14%) and Canada (9%).

Oliver has also noticed more Chileans coming through, reflecting the extra 1712 visits from Chile to New Zealand recorded in the last twelve months, a 29% rise from the previous year to 7536 visits.

While he doesn’t think he’s seen more Argentinians during that period, the report shows a lot more of them visited the country in general in the year to September 2016.

Visits from Argentina jumped 225%, from 4160 visits in the year to September 2015, to 13,536 for the September 2016 year.

The introduction of Air New Zealand flights between Auckland and Buenos Aires late last year may well have caused the surge.

Oliver, a qualified mountain bike guide and cycle mechanic, says he has not made any changes to his business in response to the increase and is just trying to deal with it.

Nor are there any changes in the pipeline, because he can always pass some of the load on to others and he is not aiming to build an empire.

Further south, Adele Trainor of Dunedin’s Good Company Tours also believes Australians are the largest group of overseas clients coming through her business, which she owns with husband Richard.

Trainor says a big chunk of their clients are cruise ship passengers, and numbers vary depending on the time of year.

The business specialises in sightseeing tours of Dunedin, cruise ship transfers and tours, and private bus hire, and has kept pace with the national trend of continued annual growth by adding a new vehicle to its fleet each year.  It now has six of them.

“It’s been quite steady through the years, with numbers,” Trainor said.

In Otago wine country, more Asians are showing up at Cromwell’s Aurum Wines, says Lucie Lawrence, who manages the family-owned vineyard and winery.

According to the report, the 22% rise in the number of Asian visitors to New Zealand in the twelve months to September 2016, from 727, 520 to 885,776, represented the biggest change for the period when it came to geographic breakdown by continent.

However, Lawrence has not noticed an overall increase in international visitors to Aurum Wines, which offers tasting sessions and estate tours.

The third-generation winemaker says the business is already equipped to deal with further increases, so no changes are needed.

“It works well at the moment, for what we’re doing.”

The report’s visitor figures measure overseas residents arriving in New Zealand for a stay of less than 12 months and their country of last permanent residence.

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Images: Wikimedia Commons

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