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Nearly 500,000 visitors to Coromandel last summer

Nearly 500,000 visitors to Coromandel last summer

Nearly half a million people visited the Coromandel over the last Christmas-New Years period, according to our latest peak population study.

A total of 498,000 unique individual visitors were identified in our district in the study period, from 22 December 2016 to 9 January 2017. The peak visitor night in the district was 126,298 with an additional 20,158 day visitors.

Whangamata had the highest population over this period, at 28,050 on New Year's Eve.

Similarly to past peak population studies, the peak population day over this period occurred on 31 December 2016, with 146,456 people identified in the district on that day (includes day visitors) with an overnight population of 126,298.

The last peak population study was conducted in 2009-10.

Of our visitors, 212,000 were from Auckland (43% of the total), and 109,000 were from overseas (22% of the total). The study identified a usually resident population of 27,600.

"The main point of our peak population studies is to identify how big our population in the Coromandel gets in summer, so we can make sure our infrastructure is reliable and that we can understand the volume of people here and where they are concentrated in an emergency," says Scott Summerfield, our Strategic Planning Team Leader.

"Accurate data about our peak population also supports applications we make for tourism infrastructure funding, for event planning and for our consent applications around water and wastewater," says Mr Summerfield.

The study incorporated cell phone data provided by Qrious, a child company of telecommunications company Spark.

This data was used to identify where people were on the Coromandel, where they had come from and how long they were staying. This was an important step forward for making our peak population estimates easier to produce, and to give a more reliable source of information. This also meant we could distinguish between day visitors and those staying overnight for the first time.

"While the Qrious data gives us a more accurate estimate of how many people are in the whole district, our geography can make the numbers produced at settlement level unreliable," Mr Summerfield says.

"So we looked at other sources of data, like water and wastewater levels, and occupancy at key campgrounds, to provide some balance to the cellphone data," he says.

Staff also compared this year's figures against previous years and estimated the probable settlement population by looking at the averaged per household figure and multiplying this by the number of dwellings.

The peak population study is just an estimate, and the settlement estimates should be considered as part of a likely range.

"Regardless, the Coromandel continues to be hugely popular over summer and we are likely to continue seeing peak populations of around five times the usually resident population," says Mr Summerfield.

To read the full peak population study, go to www.tcdc.govt.nz/peakpopulation.

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