WORLD ROUTES: Significant Visitor Spend Boosts Wellington’s Economy

International visitors arriving through Wellington Airport have increased by 35 per cent since 2009, according to latest statistic released by the airport recently.  Over the last 12 months, passenger numbers at Wellington Airport have increased by over 6%, higher than any other major airport in New Zealand.  Passengers are expected to reach more than 5.5 million this year making Wellington the second largest airport in New Zealand. 

“The airport is also expecting more than 750,000 international passengers which is well ahead of our previous busiest year which included the Rugby World Cup,” said Mike Vincent, manager of airline development, Wellington Airport.  “Australian visitor spending in the region has increased by 36 per cent over the last four years and the number of Australian’s that view Wellington as a great short-break destination continues to climb.”

Wellington has also seen a doubling of visitors from the United States arriving via Australia over the same period, which is a direct reflection of the continued success of Wellington’s large and growing film industry.  Recovery from the financial crisis coupled with promotion of the Hobbit and a strong New Zealand dollar has seen the Wellington long haul market continue to increase. 

“Expenditure from New Zealand domestic tourism has increased by almost $600 million over four years, with 40 per cent of that increase being spent in the Wellington region.  This is due in part to the strong increases in Jetstar capacity and resulting competition on the main trunk which has helped boost tourism to the capital,” said Vincent.

Over the last 12 months, North American and Asian visitors through the airport have both grown by 20 per cent.  Around 400 passengers travel directly to/from Asia every day and a further 390 per day fly to and from Europe, many of whom stop-over in Asia. There are a further 320 daily passengers flying between central New Zealand and North America. 

Earlier this month at the 2013 Tourism Industry Association Summit, at which Wellington Airport was a lead sponsor, saw the launch of Tourism 2025 - a framework to unite and inspire growth in New Zealand’s $23.4 billion tourism industry.  This is likely to boost arrivals from a number of countries, with China identified as a key market.  “If New Zealand holds its own, an additional 80 return flights per week will be required between New Zealand and China, which provides a great opportunity for Wellington and central New Zealand,” added Vincent.