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Bad Weather Doesn't Deter Tourists

Bad Weather Doesn't Deter Tourists

New Zealand's tourist destinations are reporting high visitor numbers throughout the Christmas period, despite the atrocious weather.

Rotorua's New Zealand Maori Arts And Crafts Institute, one of the largest tourist operators in the country, opened on Christmas Day for the first time in many years and was thrilled with a steady stream of visitors.

CEO Andrew Te Whaiti says while the visitors were predominately international tourists, some New Zealanders who didn't celebrate a traditional Christmas visited the Institute.

"The strong crowds on Christmas and Boxing Day are proof that people – particularly tourists - need something to do over the statutory holidays."

While forecasted bad weather was expected to decrease visitor numbers, Te Whaiti says the reverse happened, with summer visitor statistics already well ahead of predictions.

"The geothermal valley often presents a better experience on days when the weather isn't so attractive. The steam levels increase and our geyser Pohutu is even more impressive."

Te Whaiti says while the geothermal and cultural aspects of the Institute are popular, international tourists are always impressed with the Kiwi House.

"Our site is the only place in the world you can see kiwis in the heart of a geothermal valley. Together with the natural geothermal wonders of the valley, these icons of New Zealand tourism continue to amaze our international visitors. We are proud and privileged to offer both here," Te Whaiti says.

"Strong visitor numbers this summer stand us on good ground to launch our two year development plan, offering new products and services to interest both international and domestic visitors."

The Maori Arts And Crafts Institute will also launch a major rebranding project next month, including a new name, new look and major redevelopment plans.

Operated under an Act of Parliament, the Institute is an iconic tourist destination in New Zealand attracting 600,000 visitors annually. As a stand-alone organisation the Institute does not receive any funding but all profits are reinvested into Maori arts, crafts and culture.

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