Southland tourism operators post solid results following Chinese New Year
Southland and Fiordland tourism figures continue to climb, with reports showing another increase in visitor numbers for February following Chinese New Year celebrations.
Venture Southland tourism team leader Warrick Low said the high numbers across Southland and Fiordland could be attributed to the Chinese New Year celebrations when many Chinese tourists travelled through the region on their way to Milford Sound.
Total guest nights for Fiordland for February increased by 11,605 nights compared to last year.
Invercargill guest nights for February increased by 3858 nights compared to last year and Gore guest nights for February increased by 845 nights compared to last year.
Low had received feedback from operators throughout the region saying those visitor numbers had spread to other areas in the region.
Southland was continuing to grow as a destination in international markets such as the United States and United Kingdom , Low said.
While the increase in guest nights for Gore could be attributed to the Southern Fieldays and other events during February, the town was holding its own as a destination, Low said.
Although it was a stopover point for those travelling through to Te Anau from Dunedin, Gore was also a micro-destination with attractions like the moonshine museum and vintage aircraft, he said.
The average length of stay differed only slightly between Fiordland at 1.94 nights and Southland at 1.77 nights.
Tourists both international and national were under time pressure and travel times were a factor in Southland, Low said.
"We want to extend that but we have to be realistic about their [tourists'] priorities."
Gore District Council communications and promotions manager Sonia Gerken said February had traditionally been a strong month for the town in terms of tourist numbers.
The district hosted a number of events which included the Southern Fieldays and the Mandeville Fly In, Gerken said
The town had been increasing its profile and had a strong promotional presence, she said.
"We're getting noticed by those doing the more established scenic routes around the area."
The Gore visitor centre handled 471 enquiries in February this year compared to 361 enquiries in February last year, Gerken said.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Total guest nights for Fiordland for February 2016 - 83,072
Total guest nights for Invercargill for February 2016 - 32,395
Total guest nights for Gore for February 2016 - 5029.
Average length of stay in Fiordland was 1.94 nights.
Average length of stay in Southland was 1.77 nights.