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The amount spent by visitors to the two i-SITE Visitor Centres operated by Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) has increased by close to $400,000 in the past six months.
PWT Chief Executive David Perks says revenue at the Wellington i-SITE Visitor Centre in Civic Square and the Interislander i-SITE increased 22% in the first half of the 2011/12 financial year, when compared to the same period the year before.
“The past six months has been a busy period for Wellington with Rugby World Cup, the Brancott Estate WOW® Awards Show, Visa Wellington On a Plate and our busiest ever cruise season,” Mr Perks says. “We’re also seeing the results of what has proved to be a successful re-design of our visitor service both physically and philosophically.”
PWT launched the country’s first floating i-SITE onboard the Interislander's Kaitaki ferry in partnership with Destination Marlborough in March 2010. The Wellington i-SITE in Civic Square also underwent a refurbishment at the end of that year.
“The refurbishment of the Wellington i-SITE focused on creating an environment that people feel comfortable in and where information is compelling and easy to find. With the Interislander i-SITE we’re taking the service directly to a large number of visitors when they have the time to plan and that’s going down really well.”
As well as selling local accommodation and activities, i-SITE staff plan and book full New Zealand itineraries for visitors.
“Wellington’s position as the gateway to the North and South islands perfectly positions us to help visitors book onward journeys,” Mr Perks says. “But our number one priority is extending visitors’ stays in the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by showing them the many fantastic things they can do here.”
Wellington accommodation and activity sales were up 43% and 41% respectively, with general city tours proving particularly popular, Mr Perks says.
John McKinney, who operates John’s Hop On Hop Off, says the city tour has been proving hugely popular, with i-SITE business up 171%. He attributes the growth to the bumper cruise season and increasing number of Australians visiting Wellington.
The results also reflect a record winter and September for commercial guest nights spent in the capital. Latest Statistics New Zealand figures also show November guest nights were up 7.9% in Wellington due to a 44% increase in international guest nights. Two major international conference and continued strong performance from the Australian market are attributed with the November growth.