Bumper January for the Coast

21 February 2024
Development West Coast
Visitor spending on the West Coast in January was 10.3% higher than in January 2023, outperforming the national rate of 6.8%.

Total card spend from visitors in the region was $30.14m last month, with $15.7m from domestic travellers and $14.4m from international visitors, according to MarketView figures.

Canterbury ($6.83m), Otago ($1.92m), Auckland ($1.49m), and Wellington ($1.07m) were the region’s largest domestic markets, while the US ($4.56m), Europe ($3.28m), Australia ($2.46m), and the UK ($2.1m) were the top international spenders.

Development West Coast Destination and Tourism Manager, Patrick Dault, said these results were three years in the making.

“Much of the credit goes to mana whenua, the local community and tourism sector, our national tourism operators, Tourism New Zealand and most importantly the Department of Conservation.”

He said the impact of Jobs for Nature went beyond keeping people in the region, the work done through the programme meant tracks, such as Alex Knob and at Gillespies Beach, were in excellent condition for the return of visitors.

Other key investment by DOC has included visitor infrastructure improvements at the stunning Ōparara Basin north of Karamea, the Pike29 Memorial Track, and the reopening of the Heaphy Track as a through walk after two new bridges were built.

Dault also said the partnership with Iwi to deliver the Pounamu Pathway was a “game changer for the Coast”.

“Partnerships with Scenic Hotel Group to bring business events and conference clientele to the region, are key to addressing seasonality and productivity on the West Coast.”

The success of the Pretty Great Actually Campaign, with Make Collective, has also been a key factor in increasing the Coast’s market share of domestic visitors, Dault added.

“The latest campaign has just launched targeting New Zealanders and Australians to visit the West Coast during a spectacular autumn season. Our trade team is also active in Australia to develop itineraries and bring new products to buyers, thus increasing the length of stay in region.”

DWC's Patrick Dault and Lara Thomas in Sydney
DWC's Patrick Dault and Lara Thomas in Sydney promoting the West Coast.

He said a large focus for the recovery has been enabling tourism operators to reengage with high performing markets - with direct-to-consumer activity in New Zealand and Australia, renewed trade activity in the USA, Europe, and South East Asia – with Singapore and the emerging India opportunity.

“Diversifying the consumer base is key to making the West Coast more resilient in the future but also more sustainable.”

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