West Coast the place to be this summer

13 February 2023
Development West Coast
A bumper summer has seen visitor spending on the West Coast exceed pre-COVID levels.

For the month of December visitor spend on the West Coast was 19.2% higher than in December 2019 – jumping from $17.7m to $21.1m, according to data from MarketView.

Spend from international visitors had almost returned to pre-COVID levels with Australians leading the charge as the largest group, with 24% per cent of tourism spend, followed by the United States 21%, Europe 19% and the UK at 12%.

Domestic demand has not trailed off with international travel possible again. Spending from New Zealanders visiting the West Coast was up 40% on 2019 levels.

Development West Coast chief executive Heath Milne said it has been fantastic to see the continued support of Kiwis.

“Given the amazing weather we’ve had over summer, the West Coast has definitely been the place to be.”

The hardest hit area of New Zealand rebounds

New data from economic consultancy Infometrics highlights the devastating impact COVID-19 border closures have had on Glacier Country.

Employment in Franz Josef and Fox Glacier fell from 1,170 in March 2020 to 567 in March 2022. During the same period, GDP for the area fell from $128.1m to $73.2m.

Milne said after a tough few year’s businesses in Glacier Country are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with visitor spending during December up from a low of $13m in 2021 to $21m in December 2022.

“It’s important to acknowledge that even prior to the pandemic Glacier Country faced some significant challenges with severe weather events in 2019,” Milne said.

Janelle Shaw and Mike Nolan Co-Chairs of Glacier Country Tourism Group acknowledge the support Kiwi travellers have given tourism businesses and communities during the pandemic.

“It has been great to be able to share our piece of paradise with other Kiwis and we welcome you back anytime to experience our West Coast hospitality,” they said.

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