By ROBYN BRISTOW
Lockdown has been a setback for Hurunui Tourism, but it is not all bad news.
In a year of challenges and hurdles for the tourism industry, Hurunui Tourism has claimed the top spot for spend, setting businesses up for success post lockdown.
The regional tourism operator recorded an increase of 28.6 percent on electronic card spend, making Hurunui New Zealand’s leading region for the year ending June 2021.
Visit Hurunui spokesman Shane Adcock says the strong spend will hopefully mean local operators are in a far better position to face the next phase of the country’s fight against Covid-19.
“Our tourism operators have worked tirelessly this past year to ensure our region remains attractive to domestic visitors and these figures prove they have cracked it.
” Despite the current lockdown, which I know has been a huge blow for operators, I am confident our region will pull through and be ready to host visitors with that unparalleled North Canterbury hospitality once more, Mr Adcock says.
Visitors are being driven to the region across a range of channels, with traffic to the Hurunui Tourism website up 96 percent at the same time last year.
The spending data shows the high value of tourism for the region, Mr Adcock says.
“As a region, we have taken some risks this year to attract new and existing visitors, launching a brand new event in the Hanmer Springs Alpine Winter Festival being one of them, and it is reassuring to see that Cantabrians and those visiting from out of town are supporting us in these ventures.”
Spending in the region has continued to increase over the past year.
For the year ending April 2021 Visit Hurunui experienced the third- highest growth in visitor spending at 19.6% (compared to the rest of NZ).
For the year ending April 2021 tourism spend for Hurunui was $118.3m, up 20% on April 2020.
Hurunui Tourism is now working on new marketing campaigns to attract domestic visitors post-lockdown.