Pandemics and floods aside, the revenue domestic visitors are bringing into the Gore district is showing a trend upwards.
Domestic visitors brought $74 million into the Gore district economy for the period from June 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment figures show.
The figures are compiled from tourism electronic card transactions.
This is up 10.8% on the figure from the previous year when visitor numbers were disrupted by the February flooding and Covid-19.
Even though revenue was down for that period, visitors still brought in $67 million.
The 2020-21 figure was up 5.9% from the corresponding period two years ago when visitors spent $70 million in the local economy.
Gore district tourism/visitor centre senior consultant Renatta Hardy said the district was benefiting from visitors who could no longer travel overseas for a holiday.
“We are getting more mid- to high-end visitors,” Mrs Hardy said.
“We are getting people who have money to spend.
“I am excited.”
Gore was one of the “rare regions” where this was happening and it was partly because Gore had a greater proportion of domestic visitors to international ones, she said.
Gore as a destination was growing in popularity.
“We are coming on the radar,” Mrs Hardy said.
“They [visitors] are realising what a beautiful spot we are.”
Many of the visitors were from Taranaki and Auckland, she said.
People were also staying in Gore and using it as a base to explore Southland.
“We are the hub of Southland and it’s convenient to be based here and tiki tour the rest of Southland.”
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the old adage from the 1970s “Don’t leave home until you have seen the country” was reflective of what was happening throughout New Zealand at the moment.
“While there’s been some real challenges around Covid and the restrictions that places on us, as a nation we’ve taken a lot more interest in what’s happening in our backyard,” Mr Hicks said.
It was pleasing the rest of New Zealand was discovering the South.
“We’ve got the product and it’s good to see the income that is coming in because of that product.”