Major events bring our region to life

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2019 has only just kicked off and we have already hosted a number of major events around the Mighty Waikato. 

Events not only attract visitors from beyond our regional boundaries and create additional jobs, they inject new money into our economy, build local pride, develop legacy benefits and help promote our region’s brand.

In January, we have already hosted the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup at the Avantidrome, the Waka Ama National Sprint Championships at Lake Karapiro, Soundsplash in Raglan, the HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton, Festival One at Mystery Creek and the RIDE cycle festival in Waipā.

Waikato’s hospitality, accommodation, retail, tourism and transport sectors were among the biggest beneficiaries, plus locals got the chance to share in the excitement through fan and community engagement activities. 

Media opportunities presented by the all the major events’ broadcast and digital coverage helped shine a spotlight on the city and region as an attractive destination for potential visitors and create a ‘halo’ affect that will encourage and drive future travel. 

Athletes and support crew also arrived in the region between 1-4 weeks before the events and we were able to assist them in experiencing some of our iconic visitor attractions like Hamilton Gardens, Raglan and Waitomo Caves, as well as other ‘hidden gems’ across the region. Teams and support members have also been exploring our restaurants, cafes, river and cycle trails, golf courses and other visitor experiences.

In 2018, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism developed the region’s first Major Events Strategy to ensure the spotlight continues to shine on our region, as we work to develop a full calendar of events, especially outside our peak summer period. 

It is important to develop an events programme that smooths seasonal fluctuations in the visitor industry, providing increased, more reliable employment and greater returns to businesses. 

We are very fortunate to have our biggest international, iconic anchor event in June, our quieter winter season. The annual New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays attracted more than 130,000 visitors in 2018, generated $492 million in sales and contributed $221 million to
New Zealand’s GDP.

Events like Fieldays not only generate significant economic impact for our region – they also contribute to cultural and social outcomes for our community.

The Regional Major Events Strategy builds on our successful track record of delivering star-studded international events by identifying gaps and opportunities for the attraction of new events like World Darts and supports the long-term growth of our current events like Balloons Over Waikato, while seeking to increase the economic value and wider community benefits of events to our region.

With the growth and attraction of major events into the region, it also grows our reputation in the domestic market as an emerging visitor destination – we currently sit fifth highest on expenditure behind Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

We hope you get to enjoy one of our portfolio of events this summer – from international cricket at Seddon Park, through to the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival and Balloons Over Waikato. Just another reason to be proud to live in the mighty Waikato!

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism is the regional tourism organisation charged with increasing international and domestic visitor numbers, expenditure and stay. The organisation is funded through a public/private partnership and covers the heartland Waikato areas of Hamilton City, Matamata-Piako, Otorohanga, South Waikato, Waipa, South Waikato and Waitomo Districts. 

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About Author

Jason Dawson

Chief Executive, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism