The last few weeks have brought smiles to many tourism operators’ faces, according to one Coromandel business that’s seen a boom in bookings.

Cathedral Cove Cruises owner, Ken Hindmarsh, told Newsable that this summer has been the best he’s had in years.

“I can’t remember a better season,” said the skipper who has been running the tours out of Whitianga since 2013.

“We’ve had the most sensational weather and sea conditions – and the international (and Kiwi) tourists are back. In the first eight days of January, I did more tours than I did in the whole of January 2023,” he said.

Hindmarsh says December and January have also seen a wider variety of international visitors, compared to previous years.

“[We’ve had] Czech Republic, Alabama, Florida, [and] New York, then all the usual European countries – Germany, France, Italy.. It’s all over.

“I think it’s perhaps that we have a good reputation for our scenery, but there may be a little concern over the global events.. [and] the winters in the Northern Hemisphere are really cold at the moment, so I think a summer in New Zealand is quite appealing.”

Hindmarsh, who is also treasurer for the Mercury Bay Business Association, said other businesses in the area have also had a stellar start to the year.

“The general consensus is that it’s very, very good. There’s a little bit of talk about where people are spending their money – so some of those $300 to $500 spends are a little bit cool.. But people are still going out and they’re doing things. Most of the shops were pretty positive about how it’s gone.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Newsable is Stuff’s daily news podcast, wrapping up what’s worth talking about in a short package every weekday morning. Make sure to like and follow us wherever you get your podcasts.

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