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Improving Visitor Statistics for Whanganui

Improving Visitor Statistics for Whanganui

This months’ release of commercial accommodation statistics show an improving trend for visitor numbers in Whanganui.

Figures released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show visitor nights for January 2014 compared with January 2013 rose 37% and domestic (NZ travellers) guest nights rose 56.4%. For the monthly comparison the length of stay was fractionally increased and the overall occupancy rate rose to 40.7%.

Discussing the result for January following some disappointing November and December figures, Promotion and Marketing Manager for Visit Whanganui, Lyn Cheyne said the amount of activity potentially reflects the increase of event activity here. “There was a lot on to appeal – the Cricket Festival, Wanganui Opera Week, Vintage Weekend, the Cooks Classic event, a fishing competition, 4x4 Tussock Traverse, Ratana celebrations and the water ski competition at Lake Wiritoa. Sometimes I don’t think we realise just how much we offer visitors and the diversity of events Whanganui hosts.”

Lyn was even more pleased looking at the results for the year ending January 2014 as this shows an annual comparison and indications of ongoing trends.

Guest nights rose 8.9%, international guest nights rose 15.9% although on the month only comparison this was down, and domestic guest nights rose 7.2%. Again length of stay rose incrementally and occupancy rates rose.

There are still some big challenges – when looking at the numbers by accommodation type, the motels and apartment sector show good results for January but the annual comparison shows falling numbers. “This is why we’re currently working with these accommodation providers in Whanganui to get a better understanding of who motel customers are. Figures suggest we are getting more visitors – a 2.6% increase for the year ending January 2014, but they are not staying as long with a decrease in the average length of stay,” said Lyn. “I believe this is where we really need to get out there and promote the variety of things to do and see in Whanganui.”

Dr Eric Dorfman, Chair of Visit Whanganui, was heartened to see the shifting trend. "People in Whanganui are increasingly excellent proponents of their city and it's encouraging to see how the Whanganui breadth of experiences and attractions are beginning to reap rewards and - we hope - create the desire to return."


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