Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Bay of Plenty tourism industry works to mitigate impact of visitor downturn following White Island eruption

Bay of Plenty tourism industry works to mitigate impact of visitor downturn following White Island eruption
February 29, 2020

In the wake of drastically lower visitor numbers since the White Island tragedy of December last year, mitigating the ongoing economic impact for local business and supporting the area’s tourism sector is at the forefront of Whakatane District tourism activities.

Whakatane District Council, New Zealand's Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Tourism Bay of Plenty are working together behind the scenes, as part of the wider recovery project, to move forward an enhanced marketing campaign to highlight the range of visitor experiences on offer throughout the District.

Local businesses immediately impacted following the eruption are currently working through the process of applying for a portion of the emergency fund announced by the New Zealand Government late last year.

However, with the shoulder seasons usually the busiest months for international visitors, the full impact to the District’s economy is yet to be felt, with visitor spend spread across many sectors of the economy including retail, hospitality, transport as well as tourism operators and accommodation.

Advising that boosting tourism marketing for both domestic and international visitors will help mitigate potential financial losses through the shoulder seasons, Whakatane District Council Tourism and Events Manager Nicola Burgess stated "details of our marketing plan are being finalised with MBIE and it will unlock some of the emergency funding announced by MBIE in December.

“We’re immensely grateful to MBIE for their support and see boosting our business as usual marketing activities, especially to a domestic audience, as a short to medium-term way of encouraging more visitors and recouping the drop in international visitors."

With the domestic market accounting for 80% of visitors to the Whakatane District, with $119 million spent annually, Burgess says marketing activities will initially focus on growing this market, adding "while we see growing our domestic visitors as the best quick-win, bringing international visitors back is also important but will take more time.

“Whakaari/White Island was by-in-large the most popular international visitor attraction for us, so alongside Tourism Bay of Plenty, we have a lot of work to do to get those international visitors back."

Whakatane District Mayor Judy Turner says while there is a lot of work to be done, there are some exciting opportunities in the local tourism sector.

Mayor Turner noted "one heartening story that has come from international visitors since the Whakaari tragedy is that they are pleasantly surprised with the range of other visitor experiences here. We need to capitalise on this and shine a light on all the other wonderful things to do here throughout most months of the year.”

Increasing tourism marketing activities for the District forms part the wider Whakaari/White Island economic recovery project, with Whakatane District Council working alongside partners, Te Runanga o Ngati Awa, EBOP Chamber of Commerce and Toi EDA.

Image courtesy of Tourism New Zealand.

Related Articles

26th February 2020 - Documents reveal the timeline of the White Island tragedy

24th December 2019 - Authorities end search for remaining bodies missing after White Island volcanic eruption

13th December 2019 - New Zealand troops to recover bodies on White Island volcano

10th December 2019 - Tourist excursions to White Island were a ‘disaster waiting to happen’

9th December 2019 - Eruption at New Zealand’s White Island volcano leads to deaths and injuries

22nd November 2019 - Bay of Plenty trail reopens ahead of summer peak season

30th May 2017 - Spaces and Places Strategy endorsed by Bay of Plenty councils

13th January 2015 - Eastern Bay of Plenty gets Virtually On Track

12th May 2014 - Bay of Plenty Regional Council to remove Mount Maunganui artificial surf reef

27th March 2014 - Sport Bay of Plenty announces new Chief Executive

6th March 2012 - Bay of Plenty to host NZ Coastal Recreation Conference

14th October 2011 - Bay of Plenty oil disaster has significant affects on leisure

21st September 2011 - Waikato/Bay of Plenty to be home of national cycling hub

16th April 2011 - Waikato/Bay of Plenty preferred tenderer for cycling centre of excellence

Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Again Faster

ABOUT Again Faster is a Brisbane based, Australian owned supplier of strength and conditioning and functional fitness equipment. With nearly 10 years experience in the Australian market, we are…

read more

Fitness / Recreation


SeatGeek Asia Pacific

SeatGeek is a search engine and mobile-focused ticket marketplace that allows fans to buy and sell tickets for live events. As of August 2018, SeatGeek has exited the Australian, New…

read more

Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing / Venues



Clubware’s online gym software is not your run of the mill management system. It has been carefully designed to incorporate all the elements that a fitness club would need. How did we do that?…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Recreation


Fun Wheels Pty Ltd

Fun Wheels Pty Ltd are the premium dealer in Australasia for the Dutch company BERG’s commercial and domestic products. Our flagship product is their revolutionary pedal go-kart – the…

read more

Attractions / Tourism / Venues


Goplay Commercial Playground Equipment

Goplay designs and manufactures specialised playground equipment for indoor play centres, hotels, food chains, clubs and resorts. If our years of experience and dedication have taught us one thing,…

read more




Developed in Europe, this innovative system offers a safety management solution for swimming pools that checks individual swimmers via their wristband - monitoring their depth and time. Sensors…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Safety / Technology / Waterparks



Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business