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Warbirds over Wanaka’s $50 million impact

14 September 2006

Research reveals Warbirds over Wanaka’s $50 million impact

Research has established the Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow as a major New Zealand tourism event, attracting overseas tourists and generating a $50 million economic impact on Central Otago.

Warbirds manager Gavin Johnston said, “National and international analysis proves the event’s significance and places it firmly among New Zealand’s top tourist attractions. Its impact is far-reaching in that overseas tourists come to New Zealand specifically to attend the event and then usually go on to tour the rest of the country.

Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor said Warbirds over Wanaka is a great event: “Internationally the event is regarded as one of the best Warbirds Airshows in the world and the premier Warbirds Airshow in Australasia.”

The biennial event had its 10th anniversary this year over the three days of Easter and was also significant in being the last run under the aegis of the event’s originator Sir Tim Wallis, the entrepreneur who pioneered New Zealand’s deer industry and shared with the public his passion for collecting and restoring vintage fighter planes.

Sir Tim has retired from the event’s management which will now be overseen by a community trust due to officially take over next month (October).

“Sir Tim is a legendary figure in the aviation, deer farming and business worlds. His pioneering spirit represents all that Kiwis admire in their heroes,” Mr Johnston said.

Research conducted on the airshow this year found that nearly 20 per cent of visitors were from overseas. The largest contingent was from Australia (15 per cent), with 2.1 per cent from the United Kingdom and 1.1 per cent from the United States.

The report said direct spending in the region was $35 million with visitors to the region spending an average $256 a day. When combined with a calculated indirect economic impact of $15 million, the total economic impact on the Central Otago region was $50 million.

The average stay of visitors to the region was 4.75 days with a significant proportion staying longer than that.

“Already overseas tour companies are contacting the Warbirds management for advance information on the 2008 event to advertise to international tourists, a sure indication that the success of the event is assured into the foreseeable future,” Mr Johnston said.

Further details from the research which covered local, national and international visitors show:

- 51.1% spent more than one day at the show
- 46.8% had been to a Warbirds over Wanaka show before
- 11% had been six to 10 times
- 89.3% said Warbirds over Wanaka was their main reason for being in the area
- 90.9% said Warbirds over Wanaka was good value for money
- 79% said they planned to return for a future show
- 86.8% were staying in the region at least overnight
- Average duration of stay was 4.75 days
- 22.2% were staying between two and three days, 43% four to five days, 12.9% six to eight days.

This year’s airshow was also a commemoration of the Year of the Veteran with flypasts of massed aircraft at the end of the two main days of the show dedicated to those who had served New Zealand.


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