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Number of visitors to geothermal attractions in the Waikato region

TR 2002/05

Report: TR 2002/05
Author: Katherine Luketina


This document provides the results of a survey conducted in the period from December 2001 to February 2002 which investigated the numbers of visitors from domestic and international sources visiting geothermal attractions in the Waikato region.

Waikato Regional Council has identified the above parameters as environmental indicators. The reason for assembling such information is the Waikato Regional Council’s requirements to describe the state of the environment, as set out in Resource Management Act (1991) Section 35.

Geothermal attractions are an important part of the Waikato region’s economy, and have cultural importance to locals well being an important tourist attraction. Visitor numbers provide an indicator of the cultural and economic significance such attractions. Such indicators are used by Waikato Regional Council for setting policy, and planning monitoring programmes In 1995 approximately 50% of people visiting Taupo visited geothermal attractions. The demand for attractions was greater than for all other attractions covered the survey [McDermott Fairgray, 1996]. More than one million tourists visit Rotorua each year. Major international sources of visitors to Rotorua include Australia, the USA, Japan, Germany, Britain, and the emerging Asian markets of South Korea and Taiwan (APR Consultants, 1994). In 1988/1989 tourism in Rotorua was estimated to have returned $321 million as tourist expenditure, and provided jobs for up to 4,000 Rotorua has the highest throughput of overseas visitors per year, and Whakarewarewa is the most visited tourist attraction in New Zealand (Bay of Plenty Regional Council, 1999). Approximately thirty per cent of overseas visitors to Zealand engage in geothermal sightseeing (Ministry of Energy, 1982). Seventy percent of visitors to Karapiti, Waiotapu, Whakarewarewa are overseas visitors (Chrzanowski, 1997 Survey data was collected from commercial site proprietors by telephone, by letter, and face to face. In some cases results of site surveys by third parties were used, but in most cases the numbers were derived from observations by site proprietors or statistics kept by them. For those sites which do not have proprietors and for which no surveys had been conducted, numbers were estimated based on observations made during visits undertaken by Katherine Luketina or a contractor (Ashley Cody), or taken from estimates made proprietors of nearby commercial facilities.

Number of visitors to geothermal attractions in the Waikato Region
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Table of Contents

Disclaimer i
Acknowledgement iii
1 Introduction 1
2 What is a Geothermal Attraction? 2
3 Threats and Pressures Affecting Geothermal Attractions 3
4 Dangers of Geothermal Attractions 4
5 Results 5
  5.1 Bathing as part of accommodation facilities: (22 sites) 5
  5.2 Free informal bathing: (7 sites) 6
  5.3 Pay bathing: (9 sites) 6
  5.4 Pay nature tourism: (3 sites) 7
  5.5 Free nature tourism: (3 sites) 7
  5.6 Technology-related sites: (2 sites) 8
6 Comparison with Historical Data 9
7 Summary of Results 10
8 Conclusion 11
References 12