News | 30 May 2018

Wellington’s scorching summer tourist boom

Wellington’s scorching 2018 summer was also been a boon for Wellington City Council’s business operations as they exceeded performance expectations.

Picture of a bridge and a building over a lake, with bush in the background.

Eco-sanctuary Zealandia continues to be increasingly popular with tourists and in the January-March quarter more than 42,000 people visited, up 14 percent on the same time last year. Fifty-seven percent of visitors were from outside Wellington.

Visitation through Experience Wellington’s suite of attractions was up on budget by 38,068 and the Zoo performed strongly with visitation ahead of plan.

Numbers were also up by more than 35,000 for the Cable Car on the same period last year – the city’s second most popular attraction after Te Papa.

The figures were part of a review of the quarter presented to the Council Controlled Organisations Subcommittee on today (Wednesday).

Wellington experienced a great tourist season and visitor spend exceeded $2.5 billion in the year to February for the first time.

“One pillar of our economic strategy is tourist attraction and when Wellington has a tourist boom, the Council’s businesses can be part of that boom,” says Councillor Simon Marsh, who holds the Economic Development portfolio.

“The Council’s businesses are doing well and when they are attracting tourists those tourists are also spending with local businesses,” he says.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) has played a large role in this success.

“Their marketing of the city attracts acts, conferences, businesses and tourists to Wellington and this means jobs for Wellingtonians.

“That helps bring that buzz to the capital which makes it such a great place to visit.”

Jan-March quarter figures: 


  • 42,151 visitors, up 14 per cent on same quarter in 2017
  • 8174 people took a guided tour, up 38 percent

Cable Car

  • 391,285 passengers, up 35,701 on the same quarter in 2017

Wellington Zoo

  • 68,861 visitors, 13,664 more than the same time last year