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.

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