For the third consecutive year, CEDA undertook a Community Sentiment Survey to understand the local perception of our visitor industry with the aim of identifying opportunities to sustainably grow and enhance visitor activity.
In the year to March 2023, Manawatū’s visitor economy was worth over $345.8 million to the region – with domestic traveller value up 8.8% and international value up 142.2% compared to 2022.
The survey shows a positive jump in our communities’ support of both domestic and international visitors to our region. In 2023, 90% of locals were comfortable sharing our region with domestic visitors, compared with only 54% in 2022.
Data also indicates residents are ready to welcome international visitors again, with 91% comfortable with them visiting, compared with 52% in 2022. This shift can likely be attributed to our country changing its approach and mindset towards COVID-19.
Visitors to our region come for many reasons – to visit friends and whānau, for business and events, for sports and retail, and to enjoy our great outdoors. They support our great facilities, including cafes and restaurants, retailers and activities, our vibrant arts scene, parks and reserves, as well as experiencing our popular walking tracks and trails, wildlife experiences and beaches.
Additionally, our events sector and major events venues are key players in attracting and leveraging our visitor market and increasing spend and stay within the region.
Monitoring the community’s sentiment helps us better understand the local perception on the value our visitors provide to the region and where we can work together to increase that value we recieve from them. This, in turn will help to enhance the quality of life and to ultimately create a better Manawatū for all to enjoy!