Tourism continues to be a star performer for Auckland’s economy with record numbers of visitors flocking to the region and bringing with them a wave of benefits for the city.
A record breaking 2.3 million international visitors arrived into Auckland in the past 12 months in the year ending March 2016, up 10 per cent. International holiday arrivals are up 16 per cent to more than 1.1 million. There were 247,184 international visitors in March alone, up 18.4 per cent on the previous year.
Auckland recorded 7.16 million guest nights in the year to February 2016, with domestic guests accounting for 57 per cent of these nights.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the industry is the strongest it’s ever been.
“International tourism spend in Auckland has continued to rise in the year to March 2016, and while the Regional Tourism Estimate spend data will not be released until later in the year, if the current trajectory continues it’s anticipated to exceed last year’s record-breaking $6.5 billion value to Auckland’s economy for the year ending March 2015,” he says.
“This exceptional surge in visitor arrivals has also seen a number of new additional air links, with an estimated 1 million additional seats in and out of Auckland expected in 2016. New direct Auckland flights to Houston, Argentina, Doha and Dubai will attract further growth in visitors from the United States, South America, Europe and United Arab Emirates. There are also additional flights to Auckland from Malaysia and China by AirAsia X, Air China and China Eastern Airlines. Air New Zealand has also announced new services to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City and Manila in the Philippines.
“While this growth will continue to put pressure on infrastructure and services, the flow-on benefits from a strong visitor economy can already be seen throughout the city, with the visitor economy supporting more than 35,000 jobs.”
ATEED Head of Tourism Jason Hill says increased investment in a range of new developments across the region is also expected to create more employment opportunities and improved amenities for Aucklanders.
“A number of new accommodation developments and refurbishments are now underway, including Waterfront Park Hyatt, Sofitel So, and a significant upgrade to the Copthorne,” he says.
“There’s been further development of the city’s world-class retail and entertainment precincts including Britomart, Wynyard Quarter, Viaduct Harbour, Federal Street, Queen Street and now work has begun on the New Zealand International Convention Centre.”
Other major transformational projects like the City Rail Link, Waterview, Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), cycling network and the expanded SH1 corridor, will significantly improve transport, all of which paints a positive picture for Auckland.
Mr Hill says, “Auckland is city on the move – the rapid change and innovation that is taking place over the next five years will further enhance Auckland’s appeal to visitors, investors and residents.”
The Auckland Visitor Plan – created on behalf of Auckland Council – sets the strategic framework to grow the visitor economy and enhance the visitor experience. ATEED plays a leading role in increasing destination awareness and intention to visit through marketing, major events, business events, and other proactive initiatives.