Boom January visitor numbers create opportunities and issues for Northland

Posted on March 11, 2015

Today’s release of record guest nights for January by Statistics New Zealand underlined the size and importance of Northland’s visitor industry, but also emphasised the need for more investment in the region’s base infrastructure Northland Inc CEO David Wilson said today.

Data released today shows that the month of January 2015, guest nights rose 5.3% to reach a total of 363,202 nights spent in the region in this peak month for Northland’s visitor sector. For the year ended January 2015, growth is running at 8.1%, against a national growth rate of 5.6%. “Northland tourism is doing very well, the stars are lining up; factors such as the great weather, the buoyant New Zealand economy and continued growth from key international visitor markets had combined to produce a bumper season for Northland’s tourism sector” he said. “Businesses throughout Northland have seen the benefits of this growth, not only the mainstream tourism operators.

The other side though is this spike in visitor traffic highlights some weaknesses in Northland infrastructure. In particular, the state of our roads becomes an issue when we have for example bike tourists and heavy vehicles sharing the same road. This becomes a national concern not just a regional one as the safety of our visitors is paramount to visitor perception of New Zealand.

“At a time when national focus is on Northland and the state of our infrastructure is topical, we’re also making the point that the visitor industry must be able to co-exist with other key industry sectors in Northland.”