Storms came and went, but it was a long, scorching summer for Auckland as far as tourism goes, with a record number of more than 1.15 million arrivals during the year’s peak season (Dec-March), and a record spend of $3.13 billion.
The mercury rose steeply on visitation from the United States (up 28.0 per cent), with that nation a key contributor to another great official summer tourism season, which brought a total 1,147,424 visitors from 1 December to the end of March.
The 7.1 per cent overall growth compared to the previous summer, which itself had grown 12.4 per cent from the summer of 2014/15, was another great result for the region’s tourism sector says Steve Armitage, General Manager Visitor & External Relations at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).
As Auckland Council’s economic growth agency, ATEED works with a range of government agencies and industry partners to grow tourism to the region.
“A consistent approach of several years’ marketing Auckland as a destination in its own right, showcasing the diverse range of world-class visitor experiences and how accessible they all are from the thriving city centre, is paying off,” says Steve Armitage.
In terms of Auckland’s other two key inbound markets alongside the US, visitors from Australia were up 2.1 per cent compared to last summer; however Auckland, like other parts of the country, has experienced a slight drop (3.5%) in Chinese visitation. This decrease is being attributed in part because hotels were near capacity during this time and not able to accommodate some of the larger-sized tour groups that tend to frequent Auckland.
Tourists to Auckland spent 5 per cent more this summer than the previous one, with international visitors accounting for 59 per cent of the total $3.13 billion spend.
The Qrious Voyager data showed 10 million visitor nights in Auckland over summer; Statistics NZ’s Accommodation Monitor, which only includes commercial accommodation, showed a 0.7 per cent decrease to 2.71 million, despite international visitor guest nights being up 3.9 per cent to 1.32 million.
“With Auckland’s commercial accommodation sector basically at near capacity over summer, we aren’t surprised to see that segment’s growth stagnating. But visitors are making the most of the ongoing emergence of alternatives such as AirBnB,” says Steve Armitage.
“The growth in tourism out of the US over summer is particularly pleasing, and we believe our strategy to raise Auckland’s profile there through partnerships with high-end operators such as Virtuoso and American Express is really showing its value, and will continue to deliver in the medium to long term.”
Over summer, US visitors made up 11 per cent of total visitation. Last month, ATEED’s Tourism Trade team worked with CSQ.com to host key US-based journalists in Auckland for a week, with Auckland’s golfing assets a key focus.
CSQ.com's integrated media membership base is made up of Los Angeles most influential and affluent change makers. The controlled circulation is 25,000 subscribers, with a readership of 150,000.
This month, ATEED is hosting American Express platinum and centurion senior agents and partnership managers, and the Virtuoso Study Tour.
ATEED was a sponsor of last week’s Down Under Answers Tourism Exchange in Auckland which connected the region’s foremost travel suppliers with 60 of North America's best destination specialist travel agents who collectively produce more than US$10m in combined annual revenue across Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Asia and Africa.
“This kind of exchange provides an excellent platform for ATEED to directly engage with valuable partners who can keep on delivering great results for Auckland out of the US,” says Steve Armitage.