Waikato attractions just as sought after by domestic visitors as international guests

Waikato attractions just as sought after by domestic visitors as international guests

The Waikato region was one of two regions to record the largest market share increase for visitors during the past 12 months, according to the latest tourism industry figures.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson says the region’s rise – from 10 per cent to 13 per cent of Kiwis who have taken domestic holidays over the past year – is especially gratifying.

Queenstown recorded an increase from 7 per cent to 11 per cent, the Domestic Visitor Satisfaction research undertaken by Tourism Industry Aotearoa shows.

“The increase confirms the many world-class experiences and attractions we have in our region are just as sought-after for our domestic visitors as they are for international guests,” Dawson says.

Waikato attractions just as sought after by domestic visitors as international guests

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson. Photo / Stephen Barker

“As is the case with other regions, the number of people coming to Waikato for business-related and private events, such as family celebrations, has dropped away. Despite this fall-off, we have still been able to grow our visitor numbers, and this is fantastic.

“The figures confirm we have the variety of leisure experiences, from adventure and adrenalin to relaxing escapes and family-friendly activities, to appeal to a range of visitors.

“While we draw visitors from throughout the country, Auckland is our major market, and we look forward to welcoming Aucklanders again in the coming weeks as travel restrictions are lifted.”

Waikato attractions just as sought after by domestic visitors as international guests

Dawson says the visitor satisfaction research also revealed 51 per cent of domestic leisure trips were for holidays or short breaks, while 36 per cent were to visit family and friends – and that, largely, Kiwis continue to be satisfied with their experience.

“This is important news for us and the many operators in our sector – knowing what we have to share continues to make our visitors happy is not only pleasing and its own reward for their hard work and dedication, but also allows for future planning and development.

“Everyone in the tourism sector here in Waikato is keenly looking forward to the coming holiday period, and ready to warmly welcome visitors. As others are urging, I also encourage everyone to get vaccinated – and come and join us for some summer fun.”

New chairman, new director at Hamilton & Waikato Tourism

The strategic development of tourism is top of mind for Hamilton & Waikato Tourism’s new chairman, Richard Leggat, who brings to the role extensive experience across business, finance and e-commerce.

A board member of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (HWT) for the past three years, Leggat replaces Annabel Cotton who is retiring, having held the position for five years.
Ms Cotton says Mr Leggat’s significant tourism and governance experience makes him the ideal person to take on the chairman role.

Waikato attractions just as sought after by domestic visitors as international guests

New Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chairman Richard Leggat. Photo / Supplied

“I am pleased to hand over the reins to Richard. I know he will continue to benefit the HWT board with his wide-ranging knowledge in strategic development, marketing, product development and events, including cycling and winter sports.”

Leggat is also a director of the architectural firm Warren and Mahoney, Westhaven Marina, Winter Games NZ and chairman of The Kiwi Trust. Previously, he was deputy chairman of Tourism New Zealand and a director of NZ Post and Panuku Development Auckland.

HWT’s new board member is Margaret Devlin. She brings to the position broad experience in governance and executive management in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Waikato attractions just as sought after by domestic visitors as international guests

New Hamilton & Waikato Tourism director Margaret Devlin. Photo / Supplied

Devlin is a director of Waikato Regional Airport. She chairs Lyttelton Port Company, Watercare Services and the Women in Infrastructure Network. Other directorships include Waimea Water, IT Partners Group, Aurora Energy and Infrastructure New Zealand.

Leggat and Devlin’s new roles are effective December 3. Steve Gow and Mark Morgan continue as directors of HWT, which markets the Waikato region as a visitor destination domestically and internationally, and grows the visitor economy through tourism development, destination management and business events.

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