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i-Sites boost Marlborough economy

i-Sites boost Marlborough economy

The Blenheim and Picton i-Sites are contributing $6 million to the Marlborough economy, according to a new report.

The Economic Impact Analysis of the i-Site Network was commissioned by i-Site New Zealand and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.

In the 2013-14 financial year Marlborough i-Sites were found to have contributed $2.6 million through commission-based sales as well as returning a further $3.4 million by influencing visitor spending.

Chairman of regional planning and development Trevor Hook said it showed the Marlborough District Council were getting “bang for their buck.”

“It’s a credit to the i-Site organisations in Marlborough and the hard work that’s done by Destination Marlborough and it’s staff,” he said.

The not-for-profit trust, which is responsible for running both i-Sites, is partially funded by the council.

Hook said the information allowed the council to make better decisions regarding the support it provided to Destination Marlborough.

Its general manager Tracy Johnston said the report validated what the group were trying to achieve.

“I hope the community see that this is a great return on their investment,” she said.

For every $1 spent on funding the average income returned to Marlborough households was $5.40, the report found.

As well as household benefits, the return for Marlborough Gross Domestic Product  was equal to $8.50 for every $1 of public funds invested.

Johnston said the influence of i-Sites on visitor spending was greater than she anticipated.

In the year ending March 2014, visitors contributed $250 million to the Marlborough economy, or $685,000 per day.

i-Site New Zealand executive manager Paul Yeo said the service encouraged visitors to spend more.

Staff members were able to provide local knowledge and give people more things to do, he said, something Johnston agreed was crucial for encouraging visitor spending in the region

Face-to-face interaction allowed visitors to filter through all available information, she said.

Destination Marlborough are set to open a new i-Site in Havelock next month, to operate from Labour Weekend to April 2016.

This year the group are budgeted to receive $722,000 of council funding.

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