Thursday, 6 October 2016

NEW ZEALAND: Tourist Spend $1 Billion Northland's

Northland's tourist industry continues to thrive with the latest statistics estimating visitors to the region spent nearly one billion dollars in the year to August.

The latest monthly Regional Tourism Estimates released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show the tourism spend for Northland is around $944 million for the year to August 2016, up six per cent compared with the year to August 2015.

MBIE manager of sector trends Peter Ellis says international visitors spent $222 million and domestic tourists spent $721 million in that period.

Last week former Northlander Stewart Webb was one of those spending his travel dollars in Northland. Webb, who has spent 10 years in Australia, was on a 12-day holiday with his Australian born girlfriend Jaimi MacGregor.

The couple live in Gosford north of Sydney where Webb works as a laboratory technician and MacGregor as a chef. They chose to use a campervan for the holiday and to catch up with family and friends.

Webb says he really enjoyed being back in Northland and catching up with family and friends. He and MacGregor had "loved " Russell as a spot to visit. A trip south to Rotorua and " to the snow" was on the must do list because MacGregor had never seen snow.

New Zealand is also gearing up for a bumper cruise season, with a record number of cruise ships headed for our shores.The first of this season - The Sun Princess - has already berthed at the Bay of Islands with another two ships expected this month. The Northland economy is expected to benefit considerably from the 13 cruise ship stopovers at the Bay of Islands.

Cruise Lines International Association Australasia commercial director Brett Jardine says 33 ships will be cruising local waters between October 1 and April 30, compared to 28 ship last year.

Jardine says the record season reflected New Zealand's growing popularity as a cruise destination, as well as continuing growth in Kiwi passenger numbers.