Holiday crowds swell Dargaville’s Countdown Supermarket to near capacity during the holiday break; an indication of the input from tourism into the local economy

Tourism has extra effects

by Andy Bryenton

Anecdotal evidence backs up the figures for this year’s tourist season; numbers are up, and people are coming from a wider range of places than ever before to experience the Kaipara’s natural wonders.

Campers have filled Kai Iwi Lakes’ booking schedule through until the end of the season, while other camping grounds and hostelries from Mangawhai to Glinks Gully report visitors from as far afield as France, Japan, Belgium, Russia, the Philippines and the United Kingdom. The average international tourist spends approximately $215 a night while vacationing in New Zealand.

A further influx of holidaymakers is expected as families with children head back home for the start of school, and older tourists take their place.

Major movers in the field are RV and camper owners, who tend to hit the road after the Christmas rush fades away.

It has had a definite impact on main street hospitality and retail, as in prior years, with summer tourism providing a boon to businesses who stay open to cater to the international crowds as well as Kiwi sunseekers and anglers.

Speaking to international visitors, their overall impression of Dargaville’s main street was positive. However, mention was made of a lack of businesses open during the height of summer due to optional and statutory holidays.

A discussion with real estate professionals reveals that the rebounding urban property market has had a knock-on effect over the holidays as well.

The continued popularity of Kaipara properties as an option for those leaving the city behind has remained evergreen, according to representatives from major real estate brand Ray White. Supply is now the key factor, with interested buyers keen to take their holiday to the next level and plot a permanent move.