Coastal News - October 2015

Columns
Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Kaiaua and Seabird coast is, in my opinion, one of the best kept secret tourist destinations in New Zealand. The combination of stunning natural beauty and proximity to Auckland mean that it is inevitable the secret will not be kept much longer.

Our tourism sector is booming. More than 3 million people visited New Zealand in the year to July. That is seven per cent more than last year, and it is more than have ever visited before.  Tourism is likely to end up being our number one export industry.

The tourists that are visiting in such large numbers are staying longer and spending more while they are here.

Their spending in the last 12 months is up a massive 28 per cent on the previous year. In total they pumped a whopping $8.7 billion into our economy.

So why is this so important to us here on the Seabird Coast? Well, research shows that nearly half of that total was spent in areas outside our major cities. International tourist are taking time to explore ‘off the beaten track’ locations and they are increasingly adventurous about getting off the main highways. GPS technology gives drivers the confidence to explore areas such as ours with confidence they won’t get lost.

The lower New Zealand dollar means more international tourists are likely to pay us a visit over the summer we will soon be enjoying.

But it’s not just overseas visitors headed our way. More and more New Zealanders are choosing to explore our region as well. 53% of New Zealand’s total population lives within two hours drive of the Coromandel electorate. The electorate boundary on this side of the Firth of Thames is actually the southern boundary of Auckland City so we are closer to that huge population base than most other parts of the electorate.

Our challenge as a community is to ensure we have the welcome mat out when they do arrive. That means extending our famous warm welcome, ensuring there are plenty of reasons for them to stay for more than a comfort stop spending both time and money locally.

Doing so means local businesses will thrive and jobs will be created.

I know that as spring emerges we’ll see even more visitors in the months to come than we have recently and I for one think that’s great. Roll on summer.

Free Calling Number for Kaiua and Mangatangi Constituents.

Please note I’ve set up a linked telephone number for Kaiaua & Mangatangi (09) 232 2588 to provide a free calling telephone number for local people. The number will be answered in my Thames office. Please never hesitate to be in touch with me.