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Chinese Visits Treble Since Last Time Easter Fell in March

Chinese Visits Treble Since Last Time Easter Fell in March

Rotorua, 17 May 2013 - Rotorua had another bumper month for visitation in March after posting a record result for February, with Chinese visits to Rotorua attractions and activities almost trebling since the last time Easter fell in March back in 2008.

This year’s early Easter highlights the enormous growth seen in the Chinese and South East Asian markets in New Zealand. According to the Rotorua Attraction and Activities Monitor March 2013 report, Rotorua’s biggest international visitor market was China, with 43,500 attraction and activity visits, almost trebling since the last time Easter fell in March back in 2008.

Rotorua is perfectly placed to benefit from the growth in Asian visitor arrivals, as an iconic destination for new markets and in close proximity to Auckland, making it easy to include Rotorua in both short and comprehensive itineraries.

Many Rotorua businesses invest heavily in meeting the needs of Asian visitors, providing menus specific to ethnic dietary requirements, foreign language speakers, room amenities such as rice cookers and many other comforts to ensure a pleasant visit for this market.

Destination Rotorua Marketing general manager Oscar Nathan says with Prime Minister John Key predicting visitors from China could swell from 200,000 a year now to one million within five years, Rotorua tourism is likely to continue from strength-to-strength in this market.

“While Rotorua has many offerings to meet the needs of the Chinese market – there is a lot more we will be developing to further welcome this growing segment to accommodate its needs, particularly as travel patterns become more free and independent,” Mr Nathan says.

“We know the Chinese love visiting Rotorua as a unique place to experience Maori culture, nature and geothermal wonders, so it will be really important for us to continue to grow relationships in this market. The Memorandum of Understanding we signed with China Southern Airlines last year was a great step towards this.”

New Zealand also had a 24 per cent increase in US arrivals in March, which in turn resulted in a 22 per cent increase in US visits to Rotorua attractions and activities compared to 2012, with new capacity on the Honolulu-Auckland route and an improving US economy possibly driving the growth.

Larger numbers of Australians also crossed the ditch in March compared to last year, largely due to Easter being a key period for Australian holiday travel, with arrivals into New Zealand up 13 per cent, flowing onto Rotorua attractions and activities, which saw a 14 per cent increase in visits by Australians over the period.

Overall domestic and international visitor numbers increased, with visits to Rotorua attraction and activity sites up 12.7 per cent and guest nights spent in Rotorua commercial accommodation rising 14.4 per cent over March of last year.

This continued market growth can be largely attributed to the change in timing of Easter and possibly the endless summer of dry weather driving more short break domestic activity than occurred during last year’s wet summer.

International guest nights spent in Rotorua’s commercial accommodation for the month of March 2013 increased 17.6 per cent and domestic guest nights increased 10.8 per cent over March of last year. By comparison, international nights nationally increased 10.3 per cent and domestic nights were up 10.9 per cent for the same period.

Rotorua’s growth was driven by the hotel and motel sectors, rising 17.5 per cent and 18.7 per cent respectively and far exceeding the national benchmarks for hotels, up 7.5 per cent, and motels, up 7.1 per cent.

Sources:
Statistics New Zealand, International Travel and Migration: March 2013
Statistics New Zealand, Accommodation Survey: March 2013
Statistics New Zealand, Commercial Accommodation Monitor: March 2013 Rotorua
Destination Rotorua Marketing, Rotorua Attraction & Activities Monitor Summary: March 2013

ENDS

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