An estimated $7.1 million injection into the Thames-Coromandel region thanks to the annual Beach Hop event at Whangamata just confirms what the locals already knew about the event, says a Beach Hop spokesperson.
With Thames Coromandel District Council becoming a major partner of the event this year, the first survey of its kind was undertaken for Beach Hop.
Releasing the findings, TCDC says Beach Hop is one of New Zealand’s biggest annual events and this year about 110,000 people attended, making it the largest Beach Hop in its 14-year history.
Beach Hop committee chairperson Marie Bunyan says the survey confirms what organisers have known for a long time – the event provides a boost for the local economy each year. Marie is thrilled TCDC carried out the survey, saying it would be extremely helpful for the committee to plan and manage future Beach Hops.
“The committee’s always been optimistic of the value the event brings to the region and we are thrilled to have some tangible figures to work with,” says Marie.
“The Beach Hop grows from year to year, it’s just huge now – and it is not just Whangamata that feels the benefits but the whole region.”
The survey was carried out online by Survey monkey, from March 17-April 17 with 384 Beach Hop participants and spectators completing the questionnaire.
Results show the total event-spend of 10,000 people was more than $7.1m, which was tabled to 120,000 people.
The “conservative” figures are calculated based upon the 384 respondents’ average event-spend, with the assumption people stayed for five days and with one other person.
Unsurprisingly, the three local industries reaping the most reward are accommodation with $211,864, food with $121,421, and fuel with $78,232.
Blake Court Motel owner Rob McAlpine says every room at is accommodation facility was booked out this year and the motel is already booked out for the 2015 event.
“It’s brilliant, we had a good crowd this year and were full from the Wednesday right through to the Saturday,” says Rob.
“The Beach Hop is great for our business and many others. It’s also good to meet crowds from all over the country who rock up here for the event.”
Rob says it’s harder to source accommodation in Whangamata during the event than it is at the Christmas-New Year’s break.
Whangamata area manager Garry Towler says the district council is extremely pleased by the results.
“Based on security guard counts, solid waste, waste water and water use, the estimated 110,000 is by far the largest crowd to attend in the 14 years the event has been held,” he says.
“The results were much greater than expected in terms of average per person spend and the fact that the majority of people stayed between four and six nights.”
The estimated $7m boost to the local economy will be hugely beneficial to the area’s private sector and will help to keep them “ticking over” during the quiet winter months.
It creates employment and above all puts Whangamata and TCDC in the spotlight internationally, says Garry.
Feedback from Beach Hop-goers suggests the number of people showing up for future events is unlikely to decrease but will just keep “going up and up and up,” says Marie.
Another survey will be conducted next year and possibly in 2016, to dig deeper into the economic benefits of the Beach Hop on the region.
• More than 80 per cent of survey respondents were from the North Island. Thirteen overseas groups also attended the event.
• The majority of respondents were aged 50-59; the next largest group of attendees were in their 60s and 40s.
• The income level of survey respondents were, in order from largest to smallest, more than $80,000 per year, $40,000-60,000 per year and $60,000-80,000 per year.
• At least 13 people bought property in the region as a result of attending the Beach Hop.
• About 92 per cent of survey respondents said the Beach Hop was the main reason for visiting the area at that time.
• About 12 per cent of respondents have attended the Beach Hop 12 times.
• More than 87 per cent of respondents said they were very likely to attend again next year.
• Most respondents stayed between three and six days.
• The greatest individual spends in order were on accommodation, food, fuel, shopping and alcohol.