Friday, 03 July 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Cautious optimism after strong Queen’s Birthday Weekend

Weather woes aside, local accommodation providers have reported a boost from a strong Queen’s Birthday Weekend and there is cautious optimism for the winter months ahead.

While there are no guarantees that these early seeds will blossom into a fruitful season, early indications are that Kiwis - who make up 80 per cent of the Coromandel’s tourists - are determined to travel and explore their own backyard, with international travel off the table for now.

Stuart Bruce, director of Sovereign Pier apartments in the Whitianga Waterways, said they were fully booked for the long weekend with a 50/50 mix of returning guests and first-time visitors. “What is pleasing is we are already 50 per cent full for next weekend and have good enquiry levels through to August,” he told The Informer on Tuesday last week. “Sovereign Pier turned over more in the last two weeks of May since going to Level 2 than for the entire month last year. Some of this is the effect of Queen’s Birthday being at the end of May rather than in June, but the weekends around Queen’s Birthday are also well up on the same time last year.”

Closure of the New Zealand border had not impacted on the business which at the same time in 2019 hosted no international visitors.

Vivianne Bongard of Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park was also pleased with the long weekend and said they have been working hard to create attractive value-for-money packages to entice visitors. “Despite the weather forecast, we had a very busy Queen’s Birthday Weekend,” she said. “Our roofed accommodation was fully booked over the three days. We only had very few cancellations on the Saturday, which was great. People also seemed to be in good spirits and simply happy to get away from the cities.”

“Our guests even dug for hot pools in the rain and loved it. Kids were riding go-karts and played on the jumping pillow. Due to the poor weather, unfortunately we didn’t see many guests camping, but overall we are very happy, with the numbers almost matching last year’s Queens Birthday weekend.”

Destination Coromandel manager, Hadley Dryden, said some of the Coromandel’s accommodation providers were reporting bookings for summer starting to occur, including from Australia. “And for those that are open and actively promoting their businesses, they have received bookings coming out of the lockdown,” he said.

The marketing organisation is currently running a winter campaign focused on wellness and relaxation, but has already identified the upcoming summer season as its main priority. While electronic card transaction data from Marketview shows weekly overall spending has returned to the same level as the equivalent time in 2019, the percentage relating to tourism spend was not yet available. “It’s possible that people have come out and purchased things they’ve missed out on while in lockdown,” Hadley said. “With this is mind, there’s every chance that spend may taper off again as the economic impact of the lockdown takes effect. We have not yet engaged paid advertising for this reason, understanding that there’s a long road ahead. Already the volume of destination marketing is increasing. We’ve been fortunate to pick up some editorial coverage and will start appealing to the drive market in the coming weeks.

“Our digital analytics have been positive, with traffic to www.thecoromandel.com steadily increasing since New Zealand moved out of Alert Level 2. It’s now higher than it was this time last year, showing a desire to travel to the Peninsula. We’re well positioned to capitalise on this demand, it’s important for businesses that remain open to keep working their marketing channels so potential visitors are awareof what they have to offer.

Pictured: Local tourism-related businesses can currently make use of free advertising and promotion via www.thecoromandel.com.

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