News: Report highlights value of tourism to Eastern Bay


If recent Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) figures are anything to go by, the total number of visitors to the Eastern Bay in 2014 will have been higher than commercial accommodation monitor results indicated, according to a recent report commissioned by Toi-EDA for the Eastern Bay councils.

The SNZ figures include visitors staying in VFR (visiting friends and family) accommodation. Using Hawke’s Bay as an example, that region had about 690,000 VFR visitors in 2014, compared to 450,000 for the commercial accommodation sector, and total VFR night-stays were almost three times the commercial accommodation figure. 

The total number of visitors to the Eastern Bay for 2014 is likely to have followed a similar trend.

Although commercial visitor accommodation statistics show 136,883 visitors stayed in the Eastern Bay in 2014, with a total visitor-nights impact of 321,242 and an average visitor length of stay of 2.35 nights, the actual number of visitors could be about 300,000 visitors, with a total-visitor-nights estimate of around 900,000. Toi-EDA will follow up with some analysis to establish the relationships for the Eastern Bay.

When it comes to visitor spending, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) figures indicate a direct visitor spend total of $114 million across the Eastern Bay for the year ending March 2014. Whakatane accounted for $80 million or 70 percent, Opotiki $22 million (19 percent) and Kawerau $12 million (11 percent). This Eastern Bay total represents about 11 percent of the Bay of Plenty’s total visitor spend.

From 2009-2014 data, all fuel and other retail spending accounted for 62 percent of the Eastern Bay direct visitor spend. Accommodation accounted for 12 percent, food and beverages and activities/attractions/other visitor spending nine percent, and transport services eight percent.