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Welcoming committee ...Gore Visitor Centre staff (from left) consultant Kate Martin, tourism/visitor centre senior consultant Renatta Hardy and consultant AnnaMaree Allan are receiving positive feedback about the town from visitors, many of whom are New Zealanders.PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Rise in visitor numbers well above national average

Gore is growing in popularity among New Zealanders as a place to visit.

Gore District Council tourism/visitor centre senior consultant Renatta Hardy said Gore had a growing reputation as a great place to spend time.

“Domestic visitors are discovering Gore.

“We have awesome shops and no traffic.

“They love our wide streets,” she said.

The latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show that in the period from December 2017 to November 2018, Gore had a 9.5% increase in visitors who stayed at least one night, which was higher than the New Zealand average of a 2.6% increase.

“We are tracking well above the New Zealand average.”

This amounted to 4181 more visitors than in the previous year.

In the same period, 36,000 of the 48,000 visitors who came through the town were domestic-based.

While the council was always promoting Gore, many people in the town were doing a good job to make visitors feel welcome, Mrs Hardy said.

“It’s a town effort, which is great.”

She had received very good feedback from visitors.

“We have lovely comments from domestic and international visitors.

“Usually the comments are saying ‘oh, I’m staying for one more extra day’.”

Visitors often told her this was their first visit to Gore. “They have never been here and they absolutely love it.”

Many fishermen came to the town and brought their wives, like the couple she met recently.

“He was fishing and she was shopping.

“She thought the Gore shops were absolutely amazing – she found some treasures.”

From December 2017 to November 2018, visitors spent $75million in the town, up $2million on the previous year.

The increase in visitors was also reflected in the number who went to the Gore Visitor Centre.

In January there were 11.2% more visitors than in January 2018.

“[It’s] 645 more people coming through the visitor centre.”

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the latest figures were very encouraging.

“I think it’s a tribute to the community, the number of people that want to come and stay and experience what is on offer here.

“They find it a really warm and friendly, inviting place and really enjoy the relaxed easy-going lifestyle,” Mr Hicks said.

More people seemed to be coming through Gore on their way to and from Central Otago, and the continuing challenge was getting them to stop and spend time and money in the district, he said.