By ROBYN BRISTOW
Hanmer Springs businesses are “delighted and relieved” that visitors are returning to the alpine village.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools chief executive Graeme Abbot says the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa (HSTPS) complex was busy again, the town was buzzing and accommodation was full to overflowing.
“It was looking a bit grim and a lot of businesses, ourselves included, dropped a lot of revenue in November and early December following the November 14 earthquake,” he says.
But since Boxing Day people had started flooding back into the town and it was looking “very positive”.
Mr Abbot says figures up to Monday, January 9, were six percent up on last year for the holiday period.
“We are absolutely delighted with the customer numbers, not to mention relieved,” he says.
“If anyone had said in late November we would be having six percent growth in the first few weeks in January I would not have believed them.”
Mr Abbot says the business began to pick up just prior to Boxing Day with three very good days and then on Boxing Day things began to pick up.
“We are delighted”.
There appeared, anecdotally to be a growth in international customers, with more visiting than for the same period last year.
Mr Abbot says there was a strong Australian and European influence in international visitors with information gained by staff talking to customers.
“Last week people were struggling to get accommodation in the village with much of it totally sold out and even a couple of days this week is looking like that which is where it should be,” he says.
Hanmer Springs was not normally a bus town but on Monday there were three buses parked one behind the other in the town which was great bringing tour groups into the village.
He says it is a new scenario for the town with so much traffic now being directed to State Highway 7 because of the highway being closed north of Kaikoura.
A lot of work had been done to attract business back after the quake with talks with inbound wholesalers and I-Sites in the top of the South Island .
The HSTPS had marketing team did a lot of work in the month before Christmas to sell the virtues of a visit to Hanmer Springs with its vibrant boutique shopping, an exciting array of adventure activities, fishing and hunting, jetboating and bungy jumping, world class cafes and restaurants and family friendly farm parks and golf.