Press Release – Manaaki Kapiti
An organisation formed to promote, develop and coordinate the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors of the Kapiti Coast is encouraged by recent positive signs in the local economy.
Manaaki Kapiti was formed last year with members from the Kapiti Coast tourism, retail and hospitality sectors. Loosely translated as hospitality, manaakitanga plays a key role in Māori society and inspires the New Zealand visitor experience. It sums up the act of welcoming and sharing. Chair of the organisation, well-known local tourism operator John Barrett points to indicators which demonstrate real progress is being made in the local tourism/hospitality economy.
Figures released by Statistics New Zealand last week show that the numbers of people staying in commercial accommodation in the Kapiti area for April were up 40 percent on the previous year.
“While there are a number of factors behind this, including the fact Easter and ANZAC weekends were close together this year it’s great nonetheless and is a clear indicator of an increasing interest in tourism in the area,” Mr Barrett said.
He also pointed to a recent survey of local airport users carried out by Kapiti Coast Airport. “With more than 700 responses, the survey has been a great success and given customers an opportunity to have their say about local air services again this year. Passenger numbers on the Auckland, Christchurch and other local flights are steadily increasing.
“It’s often very difficult to get a seat on the peak morning and evening flights.”
The expressway development is clearly giving a boost to the local economy as well, he said.
Coastlands manager Jan Forrest echoes Barrett’s view on positive indicators with the Kapiti retail sector showing strong growth currently.
“Much is made of the tremendous growth in Auckland and Christchurch but Kapiti has been seeing positive growth for some time.
“Coastlands Shoppingtown is at its most tenanted for many years. Currently we have only one empty tenancy and we have new building activity for a number of key tenants including Briscoes and The Warehouse.
“Overall Coastlands is trading ahead of this time last year. Areas such as the food court, cafés and eateries have shown positive growth for the past 12 months. Some months have been stronger than others but overall this sector is up 11.6% on last year.
“These kinds of businesses are about discretionary spending. When people are treating themselves it’s a good indicator of confidence,” she said.
Barrett sees Manaaki Kapiti as providing a voice for the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors of the Kapiti Coast district.
“We want to be in a position to advocate for their interests to a range of groups including local, regional and central government. We will be involved in the planning processes and we aim to be the group you come to when you are developing business and opportunities in the sector.”
The key businesses currently involved in Manaaki Kapiti will be meeting shortly to develop the group and to expand the membership to include the widest possible involvement by local tourism, hospitality and retail organisations, Mr Barrett said.