Forum set to highlight tourism success

Following four months of Whanganui topping the national tables for domestic tourism growth, the people responsible for promoting this beautiful city are delving into its visitor industry success.

Whanganui & Partners is the Regional Tourism Organisation responsible for enticing visitors to the region and enhancing Whanganui’s reputation. The agency has invited guest speaker David Perks, Chair of Regional Tourism NZ, to its Public Forum to give an expert view of what’s driving Whanganui’s growth trend.

Its six-monthly Public Forums are an opportunity for the public to learn about Whanganui’s economic position and the work Whanganui & Partners does to support the local economy.

Jonathan Sykes, Whanganui & Partners’ Chief Executive, said accountability and transparency were important principles for the agency. Public Forums allowed the community to engage kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face).

“We’re proud of the work we do and having an opportunity to speak with the public is invaluable. These forums are for them, it’s a chance to ask questions of us and to learn more about how our economy is doing and how we can continue to improve.”

Sykes said Whanganui’s success as a destination was a compelling story to explore.

Autumn and winter are usually comparatively quiet periods for visitors but Whanganui has recorded remarkable growth, leaping ahead of the other 30 regions on the tables.

Whanganui & Partners tracks ‘visitor spend’ to measure the economic impacts of tourists in the region. Working with its data partner Marketview, the Economic Development Agency is able to record growth in visitor spending and compare it against other regions.

Marketview’s data is the basis for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) monthly consumer spend figures. MBIE then ranks visitor spend growth in New Zealand’s 31 Regional Tourism Organisations – and Whanganui has been coming up tops.

Whanganui topped MBIE’s visitor spend growth table in April, May, June, and ranked second in July.

Sykes, who was Whanganui & Partners’ Strategic Lead of Marketing before being appointed CE, said the agency had been targeted in its use of central government funding boosts during the pandemic period.

“We put Whanganui on billboards, TV screens, in magazines, social media and newspapers and we saw the result of those efforts as we tracked significant increases in traffic to our website and online platforms. Our aim is always to raise Whanganui’s profile as a place to visit, study, do business and live.”


Sykes said the boost in visitor numbers and the momentum Whanganui was maintaining demonstrated how much visitors enjoyed the region.

“The experience people have while they’re here makes them more likely to return, speak highly of Whanganui to friends and family, and sometimes even consider moving to work or do business here.”

Along with promoting Whanganui and its visitor industries, Whanganui & Partners supports local businesses, the creative industries, agriculture and international education and capability building in the region.

Sykes said he was looking forward to talking about the impact of the agency’s work across sectors.

“Along with our visitor success, we have a lot of stories to share about businesses we’ve helped to establish, diversify and grow.”

Whanganui & Partners’ Public Forum is on November 2, beginning at 5.30, at Space Studio & Gallery on St Hill Street. All are welcome and can RSVP at

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