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Spending soars in Taupo District over Christmas/New Year period

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A large number of summer visitors to the Taupo District has been a welcome economic boost, says Mayor David Trewavas.

"It’s been great to be able to welcome visitors over the holiday period and really see our district humming again," Mr Trewavas said.

Data shows spending in the Taupo district peaked at $17.5 million in the week ending 3 January, up 11.2 percent on the same week the previous year.

Spending in the district steadily rose throughout December from around $10 million per week during November to hit the $17.5 million high, according to same-store card transaction data for retailers on the Worldline network. The following week, spending was still up 5.5 percent on the same week in 2021.

The number of people visiting the Taupo town centre over the holidays peaked at more than 31,000 people on Thursday 30 December according to the council’s pedestrian counter on te Heuheu Street. Many of those in the influx were Aucklanders keen to experience freedom after a wearying four-month lockdown.

Taupo district’s economic development agency Amplify and regional tourism organisation Destination Great Lake Taupo both report that hospitality, tourism and retail in Taupo and Turangi have had a good January so far, with increased numbers and high average spending since Taupo moved to orange under the Covid-19 traffic light system on December 31. Most operators are looking forward to the upcoming public holiday weekends followed by the events season coming in February and March.

Mr Trewavas said while he was thankful to locals every year for warmly welcoming visitors, he wanted to particularly acknowledge that this year’s busy summer holiday period occurred during the middle of the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the district.

"We know that our Taupo Town Centre Transformation project meant that some people found it slower than usual to get around town and they needed to be patient while visitors navigated their way through some of our newly-completed works.

"Thank you to everyone for your understanding - it really is appreciated. We know the end outcome is going to be amazing and we will have a world-class waterfront," he said.

Sue Shaw, co-owner of te Heuheu Street business Spacecraft, said that after a quieter-than-expected December, the holiday period so far has been busy.

"We saw a huge influx in January and there’s been a lot more visitors in town. It’s been busier than last year.

"We had a few comments about the traffic over the busy period, but the town centre transformation work is still being constructed so let’s give it time until all the works are finished," she said.

While visitor numbers dipped after many people returned to work on Monday 10 January, they are expected to rise again over the upcoming Wellington and Auckland anniversary weekends, as well as over Waitangi Weekend, which this year runs from 5 to 7 February.

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