A busy visitor summer, high property prices, businesses adapting to a changing market - the latest Economic Development news 20 January 2021 It has been a busy, steady summer on the Coromandel – a massive relief after the year that we had and the continued uncertainty ahead. Happy New Year. Despite 2020 not being the year envisioned by many, the Coromandel has seemed to bounce back well over peak summer with people supporting our local economy. We wish everyone, and all local businesses, the best for 2021. In this newsletter: Summer statistics – visitor numbers for December Feedback from the Tourism Industry Busiest summer yet for the Hauraki Rail Trail Coroglen Tavern - Coromandel's own hotspot Coromandel makes Top 10 in NZ best beaches competition Looking to buy or sell? Property prices and stock for the Coromandel Kōpū marine and business precinct and Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf wharf updates Thames Airfield hangars available for lease Work, live and play on the Coromandel – we're hiring Summer Statistics - how we fared over Christmas/New Year (Photo: Mercury Bay Seaside Carnival. Photo Credit: MB Informer) The Coromandel region was down on total visitor numbers for the month of December 2020 when compared to the same time last year - 68,000 people this month - compared to 73,000 for the month of December in 2019. Regardless, the Coromandel came in around seventh nationally, for the average daily domestic visitor numbers for the month. The drop in numbers was anticipated given the significant loss of international visitors to New Zealand. Our Regional Tourism Organisation, Destination Coromandel (DC), continues to work hard to maintain market share from the domestic traveller during this competitive time. Most regions saw a decrease in visitation, including a dip in domestic visitors, during the month of December. Auckland and Queenstown were the only spots to buck the trend. Another trend consistent throughout the country was the increase in locals staying home during December. Visitor spend data for December and January will be released later this month. A still very busy Christmas/New Year period in the Coromandel saw visitors spending and attending local events including: Galas and markets in Coromandel Town, Cooks Beach, Hahei, and Whitianga, which is great news for our local schools whose main form of fundraising is these events. Whangamatā Summer Festival held its annual market in Williamson Park and although rain played havoc on one of the days there were still many families enjoying the festivities. Check out our 'What's on in the Coromandel' page to keep up to date with upcoming events. Whitianga Summer Concert - Greenstone Entertainment Tickets are still selling well for the upcoming Whitianga Summer Concert. There has been a change in artists, and it is looking to be a great Kiwi party. Find out more and book your tickets here. Already planning to go the Whitianga Summer Concert? TCDC have sponsored a free town loop shuttle bus service throughout Whitianga to get you to and from the venue quickly and safely. The buses will run continuously between 10am and 1pm and 4pm and 8pm, stopping at the bottom of Centennial, Buffalo Beach Reserve, Whitianga Wharf and outside the Information Centre on Albert St. If you have an early entry pass you can catch the early bird bus which will be leaving the Whitianga Wharf at 9am. Feedback from the Tourism Industry Most of the information centres around the district had a busy summer, another sign that the Coromandel remained a popular national destination. Coromandel Town Information Centre (pictured left) dealt with many who said it was their first time visiting the Coromandel, with some staying 4-5 days. Whangamatā Information Centre say they were a lot busier than usual, selling more merchandise and gifts than usual and their entire allocation of The Other Side Festival tickets. The door statistics in the Tairua Information Centre were up for both November and December 2020, up 82 per cent and 28 per cent respectively. The busiest periods in this area were just prior to Christmas and just after New Year's - many visitors said they wanted to come to the district outside of the peak period. The biggest issue for Tairua Information Centre and businesses was travellers asking 'where are the toilets?' In Whitianga and Thames, i-SITE door numbers were down; however, both remained busier than initially predicted. The two busiest weeks were between Christmas and 11 January 2021. The Coromandel Local Walks Guide was the most popular request at these i-SITEs - Kiwis have been into their walking and biking this summer. The statistics and information from i-SITEs indicate that the Coromandel has been able to sustain our tourism base despite the unpredictable events of the past year. “During Christmas/New Year everywhere, and everything was fully booked," says Milan Lukic, Chair of Mercury Bay Business Association. "Our worry is what happens at the end of January, as we're hearing that the tourism bookings are drying up. We’ll be focusing on how we can draw people to the Coromandel for the autumn, winter months. From a trades/construction perspective, we’re hearing that it’s just relentlessly busy," he says. "Thames often doesn't get the same foot traffic as the eastern side of the district over the holiday period, but businesses here, particularly hospitality and accommodation providers, stepped up and kept open more over the weekends and evenings," says Sue O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Thames Business Association. "There’s been a willingness to adapt to catering to that increased visitor population. The Thames Goldmining Experience did particularly well." If you need any information about the Coromandel, please visit or call any of our of i-Sites or visitor information centres. You can find information here. Busiest summer yet for the Hauraki Rail Trail The above graph shows the Hauraki Rail Trail is becoming a thriving tourism activity. Counters along the Hauraki Rail Trail show that this has been the busiest summer for the Trail with statistics showing: December 2020 saw 6,512 bikers travel through the Totara (Thames) section of the Trail compared to 3,218 the previous year. In 2020, a total number of 42,342 went through our section of the Trail, stretching from Kaiaua up to Thames. This is significantly higher than the 34,565 travellers the following year. There are equal numbers for the north and south areas of Thames, indicating that people are travelling through the Trail and not completing only the single section. The counters have also been logging plenty of people walking sections of the Trail. The cycling community is proving to be very resilient,” says Diane Drummond, CEO of Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust. “I'm confident the domestic numbers are going to carry us through, people are enjoying being out in the fine weather.” Extensions along the Trail are nearing completion, with the Te Aroha to Matamata section officially open since November 2020; the leg to Kaiaua won’t be far behind. There are plans for the Trail to link up with other trail networks to reach Auckland, allowing people to bike and travel even further. Read more about what the Hauraki Rail Trail has to offer here. Coroglen Tavern - Coromandel's own hotspot (Photo: Coroglen Tavern owners Michelle and Jed with their two children) The completion of the new garden bar at the Coroglen Tavern just in time for Christmas and New Year events has proven to be a winner for owners Michelle (known as Shell) and Jed. On Boxing Day, the garden bar (pictured below) was open for business and they hit the ground running. No city noise, no hustle and bustle – it's the perfect place to chomp down the mussel fritters and buffalo wings – two popular menu items. This summer, they held even more band nights including Sons of Zion, Katchafire and The Feelers. Each night resulted in a great turnout and even their ‘quiet’ night of the summer saw 400 people come through the doors. An impressive turnout. “So even when we had a 'slow' night, it was really successful, and that's when you know you’ve had a really good summer,” says Shell. The Coroglen Tavern was established in 1946 and has since become an iconic Kiwi pub, known for its good, honest food and epic summer concerts. In 2014, Michelle and Jed moved back to the district with their two children after spending some time overseas. Both grew up here and although they spent a lot of time in other places, always knew they would be back. When the couple took over the tavern it had just come out of receivership. The pair had limited experience in hospitality and knew they had their work cut out for them. Owning a pub was never something they thought they would do but eight years on, and a lot of hard work later, they remain the very proud owners. Because of lockdown they were shut for an extended period of time and only opened when the country was back in alert level two. As a business that prides itself with its family atmosphere, letting go of staff after lockdown was no easy thing. With the uncertain climate they were operating in, the risk of hiring staff and being faced with another lockdown was not a risk Shell and Jed wanted to take. The couple spent their time in lockdown forward planning and improving their product (including the build of the garden bar) to come out stronger for this summer. The Waitangi Day Party at Coroglen Tavern has a line up you don't want to miss; Boom Boom Deluxe is the headline band with Solomo Cole Band and Descendants of Dinosaurs also playing. Check out the event on Facebook. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from eventfinda. Check out their website to view their delicious menu and check out what events are coming up. Coromandel beaches makes NZ's best beaches competition Top 10 What makes a great beach? Is it the sand, surf, shade or location? NZ Herald is on the hunt for New Zealand's best beach, and they want the public's opinion. Two Coromandel beaches - Matarangi (pictured right) and Whangamatā (pictured below) - have made the top 10. This week, the Herald will be profiling two stunning beaches each day. Let's make sure the Coromandel is a winner - so place your votes for our two beaches by voting here. Looking to buy or sell? Property prices and stock for the Coromandel Nationwide, residential properties are in short supply, with our district being one of the top spots with low stock and high prices. The asking price for properties around New Zealand was $799,190 at the close of 2020, compared to $703,780 in December 2019. Although new listings were up 19.2 per cent compared to the previous year, there is still a shortage in houses. Of the 6,592 properties that came onto the market in December 2020, more than half were in Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury. Property remains in short supply across the country with only 12,932 homes available for purchase at the end of December – 29.1 per cent less than the same time last year. The Coromandel is one of the lowest areas in terms of stock at 50.3 percent lower than 2019 (as shown below). You can read more about housing and stock statistics on the New Zealand Property Report. Building Consents In 2020, a total of 1,325 building consents were filed for compared to 1,245 in 2019. These figures include applications for both new builds and alterations. Additionally, 276 consents were issued for new builds in 2020 whereas 285 consents were issued in 2019. These figures suggest that the number of people renovating or building in 2020 is similar to that of the previous period. COVID-19, and the changing market climate doesn't seem to be a huge deterrent for people wanting to build a home or renovate their existing dwelling. To apply for buildng consent, or learn more, visit our website. Kōpū marine and business precinct update A design change has seen the commercial wharf and recreational boat ramp relocated 20m to the north. This has increased the separation between the existing slipway and the commercial wharf which allows for greater manoeuvrability of vessels between the two facilities. Tenders for construction were advertised late last year and the tender evaluation will happen the first week of February. You can read more information about the project here. Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf Wharf project update Following feedback from public open-days and targeted stakeholder meetings in November 2020, the project team needed to do further work on technical studies including additional noise and traffic data collection. There’s also been more work done on dredging requirements, stormwater analysis and cultural impact reports. All this information is to be reviewed by the relevant organisations including Waikato Regional Council, Department of Conservation and iwi. This has meant that the plan to lodge resource consent applications by the end of 2020 has been pushed to March 2020. The week before Christmas, the Sugarloaf Wharf Ltd/Te Ariki Tahi Board also met to be updated on progress, with the next meeting scheduled for early February. Our Mayor Sandra Goudie and Coromandel-Colville Councillor John Morrissey are our Council’s representatives on the Board. The build will see the wharf platform extended and raised to account for rising sea levels. There will be four new berths for increased commercial mussel activity and a separate facility for launching recreational boats. The existing car park footprint will remain. Read more here. Thames Airfield hangars available for lease Our Council is calling for expressions of interest from those in the aviation community who may be interested in leasing hangar spaces at Sir Keith Park Memorial Airfield in Thames. We want to gauge the level of interest ahead of a formal tendering process to begin on 7 April 2021. Development at the airfield will be staged, with the first lease sites available for hangars only. The second stage will involve establishment of accomodation hangars and commerical activites. In keeping with the airfield designation of the land under our Council’s District Plan, all activities in the airfield precinct, including accommodation hangars and commercial development, must be aviation-related. This is a highly exciting development for the airfield and for Thames,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “Council staff have been working very closely with airfield users to get the conditions right for the airfield to be used to its maximum potential. We’re cleared for take-off!” Register your interest Send your expression of interest in leasing space for an aircraft hangar by 22 January 2021 to Charmian Nell, by email via email@example.com or call on 07 868 0200. Find out more on our website. Work, Live and Play on the Coromandel - we're hiring Our Council is now advertising for someone to be instrumental in our Economic Development activity. Working collaboratively across the organisation, the Economic Development Lead position takes accountability for executing strategies that deliver sustainable economic development for our district. Key responsibilities include: Build and actively manage sustainable partnerships and relationships with local and central government agencies, local and national businesses and key community and iwi partners. Connect the dots across local, regional and national to identify new opportunities and partnership potential. Collaborate across the organisation to deliver innovative solutions that support business development. You can find out more about this role and check out the job description on our website.