New Figures Show Remarkable Growth for Hurunui Tourism

New data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) shows tourists are spending more than ever before in Hanmer Springs and Hurunui.

For the year ended 31 July 2017, the regional tourism estimates show that visitors spent a total of $164 million in the district – an increase of nearly 9.9% on the previous 12 months.

Hurunui Tourism Product Development Manager Graeme Abbot says the growth is quite an achievement, given the area’s main tourism destination, Hanmer Springs, experienced a sharp downturn in tourism for several weeks before Christmas.

“Hanmer Springs’ visitor numbers dropped off for a period after the November 2016 earthquake despite the village suffering little damage. It is good to know overall visitor spending has grown despite that.  This is evidence that MBIE’s tourism support fund has been effective and we’re grateful for the Ministry’s support.”

MBIE established a $350,000 Tourism Support Package for Hurunui after the earthquake. This enabled Hurunui Tourism to increase its marketing of the district and employ extra staff to assist operators most affected by the earthquake.

Duncan McKenzie, General Manager of Heritage Hanmer Springs says his hotel has noticed an increase in visitor spending, although business can still be quiet mid-week.

“We are fortunate to have continued patronage from the domestic market with the conference and wedding event business also an important mainstay for us. We are also looking forward to the summer season and have solid forward bookings from key international markets.”

Graeme Abbot says unfortunately the increase in spend won’t have been felt everywhere.

“We are acutely aware that businesses in some parts of our district, such as Cheviot, are continuing to hurt due to the diversion of State Highway One. While others, in the likes of Culverden, have experienced an enormous lift in trade. Overall, this is good news for the district.”

The figures show the value of all of the major markets increased including the North Island, Australia and the Americas.

“We saw the biggest growth in international visitor spending which increased by 19.2% to $43.5 million,” says Graeme Abbot.

Hurunui Tourism is now working to ensure the coming Summer tourism season is equally successful.

Graeme Abbot says that involves encouraging visitors to not only come to Hurunui but to stay and explore it - particularly the areas that are a little harder to get to as a result of the State Highway One diversion.