Waipā ticks domestic boxes  

Black water rafting is among the attractions on offer at Waitomo. 
Photo: Waitomo.com

By Benjamin Wilson 

Waipā is a shining star, Hamilton and Waikato Tourism chief Jason Dawson says.

He says its attractiveness to domestic tourism has enabled the region to prosper during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The region saw seen annual growth of an estimated 14 per cent in visitor spending to the year ending in June – well up on pre-Covid rises.

New Zealand’s international visitor arrivals plunged by 84 percent between June 2019 to June 2021.

Jason Dawson said Waipā range of attractions have domestic appeal.

It has not been the same for Waitomo and Matamata, which rely heavily on international tourist dollars spent at the Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton and not repeat visits from domestic tourists.

Dawson said the impact on the Waitomo community was particularly significant – and issued a plea to Waikato residents to support the industry there.

He said where previous visitors might recall the glow worm caves as a memorable experience offer, today there were 20 worth seeing.

Conversely, Waipā is the home to many internationally recognisable sport and event venues which also benefit from domestic spending. They include the Velodrome at Cambridge, Lake Karāpiro and the Mystery Creek Event Centre.

Dawson cited Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari as one of the region’s top natural tourist destinations.

“Connecting with nature is a key part of our recovery in a post-Covid world and visiting Maungatautari helps restore your wellbeing. Plus, you get to see some unique native wildlife as well.”

The region is often promoted as a hub destination for people who are travelling in the North Island.

“People are more prepared to travel within their own island,” Dawson said.

The future looks equally bright for the district.

Hamilton airport, which is in Waipā, is undergoing a multi-million-dollar upgrade and $12.4 million has been budgeted for the construction of the Te Arawai Museum in Te Awamutu.

More Recent News

Getting to the ball in style

Brett Dixon got up to work before sunrise so he could spend seven hours cleaning his John Deere tractor before Cambridge High School’s 2024 Las Vegas Casino Ball on Saturday. He used the sparking farm…

Farmers told to lobby

A Federated Farmers leader has responded to last week’s story in The News where farmers were encouraged to lobby for better milk prices. Waipā accountant Jarrod Godfrey said Fonterra’s opening milk price forecast for the…

Price hedging gains traction

A record number of dairy farmers and rural professionals have turned out for a milk price hedging workshop. Thirty-two people showed up for the workshop at Fonterra Farm Source, Cambridge, a larger turnout than previous…

News ….. in brief

Te Awamutu local Corban George-Potterton has won the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Young Volunteer of the Year Award for 2023 from a pool of 48 RDA groups across New Zealand. He is a Riding…