Destination Rotorua received $2.4 million from the Rotorua Lakes Council to boost economic and tourism growth in the region.
But that contribution helped pump hundreds of millions into the city, new figures show.
Last year Destination Rotorua merged and became a single council-controlled organisation with Rotorua Economic Development, Destination Rotorua Marketing and Grow Rotorua to create collective outcomes for the district.
Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said its latest 2016/17 quarterly statistics showed visitor expenditure had jumped 6.3 per cent to $799m the July year end, which fuelled the economy and impacted dramatically on Rotorua’s employment landscape.
”The visitor industry is one of our largest employers accounting for approximately one in five jobs in the region in addition to supporting goods and service providers who also benefit from the visitors coming through Rotorua.”
Another $29m was also confirmed in multi-day business events sales for conferences and exhibitions while expenditure for its two iSites at Fenton St and Whakarewarewa Forest was up 20.2 per cent on the previous year.
Meanwhile, Delve Research figures from the 2015 to 2017 Famously Rotorua domestic campaign showed New Zealanders that had visited recently and intended to revisit had climbed from 39 per cent to 46 per cent – while occasionals that had visited increased from 26 per cent to 34 per cent.
”New initiatives implemented this year include a recent brand refresh that was undertaken with creative partner NZME and we are currently developing a Manaaki Programme that will work to educate our people and improve Rotorua’s service quality in hospitality and related sectors,” she said.
Deputy mayor and council economic development portfolio leader Dave Donaldson said there had been significant growth in all the areas Destination Rotorua had tackled.
”They have their own chairman and board members as a governance entity who review all their strategy and expenditure. I think we are pretty delighted with how the district’s economy is growing with existing and potential business investments… it’s quite obvious we are hitting all the targets.”
Tourism Industry Aotearoa regional chairman for Rotorua hotels Blair Chalmers said tourism was on a high and there was no doubt about that.
”It is all positive and makes life easy when things are going well and the numbers they are producing, if you do your numbers are pretty much in line with around the country. But I guess the problem with Rotorua is where do we sit in the national pie?
”Going online there are just under 2000 bedroom nights through Bookabach and Airbnb in Rotorua…but from a hotelier’s point of view we are only one little slice of the mix and competition is very strong.”
Destination Rotorua Highlights 2016/17
* Visitor expenditure: total $799m up 6.5% YOY
* 3.77m visitor nights increase of 4.9% YOY
* iSite total customer count 1.19m up 8 per cent
* 58,000 delegate room nights booked, 16,650 delegates booked, 43 events booked
* 200,000 likes on Facebook, 30% increase YOY – source Destination Rotorua