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Kaikōura topped Airbnb’s global trending destination list for 2019

4 December 2018

It is the first time a New Zealand destination has made the global list, which is compiled based on a combination of Airbnb searches, bookings and wish list growth data. 

Glenn Ormsby, General Manager Destination Kaikōura said, “We are absolutely thrilled to learn that Kaikōura has topped Airbnb's global trending destinations list for 2019. The news is very fantastic. After a challenging two years (post-earthquake 2016) and working hard to ensure our reputation as New Zealand’s premier marine destination remains high in the minds of prospective visitors, to emerge as the top trending visitor destination in 2019 is a wonderful accolade for the community. Thank you to all Airbnb travelers. To be included on such a prestigious list of emerging visitor destinations in the world is humbling and very much appreciated.”

Airbnb global trending destinations 2019 list include:
1. Kaikōura, New Zealand
2. Xiamen, China
3. Puebla, Mexico
4. Normandy, France
5. Great Smoky Mountains, US
6. Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
7. Accra, Ghana
8. Mozambique
9. Outer Hebrides, Scotland
10. Wakayama Prefecture, Japan
11. Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley, US
12. Santa Catarina State, Brazil
13. Batumi, Georgia
14. Winnipeg, Canada
15. Pondicherry, India
16. Uzbekistan
17. Calabria, Italy
18. Andalucia, Spain
19. Taiwan

General Manager Destination Kaikōura, Glenn Ormsby said, “We’re really excited about this this. We believe it’s reflective of some of the excellent hosting (manaakitanga) by Airbnb operators in the region, the extensive PR & Comms campaign we’ve delivered out in the market since Jan 2017 post-quake, and support with offshore marketing by Tourism NZ, Christchurch Airport, ChristchurchNZ, and local operators over the past 18 months (particularly Whale Watch Kaikōura, Encounter Kaikōura and Hapuku Lodge & Treehouses). We’re stoked, as we know the Mayor, Council and community will be.

Airbnb’s announcement helps to consolidate the profile Kaikōura, Christchurch and the Canterbury region has as New Zealand’s newest and most progressive and contemporary visitor destinations in the future which is really exciting.

What a year 2018 has been. A very different story, a positive story, a great story, compared to the unknowns at the same time last year (Dec 2017). The tourism sector has rebounded more quickly than we could have hoped for. The fast return of visitors to Kaikōura has hugely been influenced by government’s investment with recovery marketing funds and the work key tourism operators and agencies have done offshore to keep spreading the message that Kaikōura is open.

The partnerships we have with other agencies like Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Interislander and Kiwirail and Bluebridge, transport and coach companies, inbound tour operators, the i-SITE network and hotel chains has also contributed to the better than expected fast rebound of visitors. This highlights the destination does not work in isolation, and, when we work together, collaborative marketing really pays off.”

One of the highlights this year was with Kaikōura being selected by National Geographic USA as a special feature destination across their global network. Other highlights include:
• Kaikōura was selected by Lonely Planet as the top destination to visit in the South Island and also was deemed as one of the best food experiences on Lonely Planet’s 2018 Ultimate Eastlist and number #7 on the list
• This year, Whale Watch Kaikōura won the NZ Tourism Award Best Maori Business
• And, NCTIR winning the International Civil Engineering People’s Choice award this year is just the icing on the cake. Wonderful recognition of the great work all the crews have done in getting Kaikōura back on track

Visitor statistics are very encouraging. From a visitor spend perspective Year-end October 2018 we are up +89.3% compared to YE Oct 2017. Pre-quake annual visitor spend was $121m. It is now $106m. Only -12.5% behind pre-quake numbers.

Year-end September 2018 commercial accommodation stats show guest nights up +53.2% and guest arrivals up 62.6%. Pre-quake guest arrivals we are still tracking -20.6% behind but with the Coastal Pacific train trip now back online, we hope to get back to pre-quake visitor numbers by end April 2019.

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