Exciting summer ahead for Wairarapa

Friday, November 18, 2016

With November upon us already, it is an exciting time for the Wairarapa. We are on the verge of a huge number of events planned for the warmer months.

This is sure to bring a large number of people in to the Wairarapa, which in turn brings us growth, employment, and opportunities.

One of the highlights of the summer season for me will be the Wings Over Wairarapa airshow at Hood Aerodrome in February. This combines for the first time with the Masterton A & P show – a clever strategy to entice more people in to the show.  The 2017 airshow is sure to be bigger and better than ever before.  That event alone is estimated to bring in more than 30,000 people to the Wairarapa.  Those people all need to be fed, watered, and accommodated at the very least, along with the inevitable extra spending on shopping and other luxuries.  This means a huge financial windfall for the region.

Other exciting events coming up in our area include Toast Martinborough, racing at Tauherenikau, UB40 playing a concert in Martinborough, the New Zealand Cycle Classic and Huri Huri Wairarapa Bike Festival, the two Martinborough Fairs, the Harvest Festival in March, and the Wairarapa Balloon Festival in April.

There are plenty more than the above mentioned and it is encouraging to see these events holding their own, and improving, year after year.

Tourism is one of our biggest export earners.

International tourists’ expenditure in New Zealand in the year to March accounted for almost 21 per cent of the value of New Zealand’s total exports of all goods and services.

Recent data released by Statistics New Zealand show spending by international tourists in the year ending 31 March 2016 climbed to $14.5 billion – an increase of 19.6 percent from a year earlier.

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand were a record 3.39 million in the September 2016 year. This was up 346,000 from the September 2015 year, an 11 per cent increase.

Together with increased tourism within the country by New Zealanders, tourism is underpinning the retail, passenger transport, and hospitality sectors.

It’s estimated that over 188,000 people are directly employed in tourism, while tourists pay $2.8 billion in GST which, of course, helps to pay for our schools and hospitals.

The Government’s Tourism Strategy aims to better coordinate efforts to boost the economic contribution tourism plays in our regional economies.

Budget 2016 invested a further $45 million investment in tourism over four years, including to help communities with their infrastructure needs, and extra funding for Tourism New Zealand to target growth markets.

This was in addition to the over $130 million National was already investing every year to facilitate tourism sector growth.

The benefits of all this investment are certainly on show in the Wairarapa over the next four or five months – let’s get amongst it and support these events.