Domestic tourism growth great for Geraldine
A significant increase in the number of New Zealanders visiting the region plays into the hands of Geraldine businesses, according to Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.
Guest nights for domestic travellers in the Timaru Regional Tourism Organisation Area, which includes Geraldine, is up nearly 25% for the year to March.
Mrs Dean, who is also the Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism, says growth of this level is significant.
"The emergence of South Canterbury as a favoured destination for domestic travellers is great news for Geraldine in particular. The town has long been a popular pit stop for international visitors, which is still important, but having more domestic visitors pulling up will bring long term benefits.
"A vibrant domestic tourism industry can generate visitor spending in slower shoulder and off season months. The increased likelihood of domestic travellers to stay overnight also provides welcome and consistent trade for the hospitality industry.
"Geraldine is already doing many great things to appeal to fellow New Zealanders. There are attractions and activities that appeal to a wide range of people throughout the seasons and I have spoken with many who make a beeline for events like the Summer Fete and Arts and Plants Festival.
"The Go Geraldine organisation is forward thinking and ideally placed to feed off this increase in domestic travel. Capitalising on this surge in interest will provide a stronger economy as the town will be better equipped to withstand fluctuations in international demand."
Nationally, for the year ended March 2015, there was an increase of 6.3 percent from the previous March year.
Statistics New Zealand - Commercial Accommodation Monitor: March 2015. Timaru Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) area recorded an increase in Domestic guest nights of 24.7 percent to 258,098 in the year ended March 2015.