Do you use Hamilton Airport? The 2012 closure of Virgin Australia at Hamilton Airport may have a flow on effect to small businesses and tourism. Or it may not! As the economic downturn continues, the cut in flights has threatened a downturn in local business. While there has been a 750k drop in annual revenue for the airport, Slater Chartered Accountants likes to think we can weather the storm. What Can You Do About it? What's the solution here? Sure, we can wax lyrical about the airport's restructuring plan or the need for more flights and the adverse impact on tourism. But in reality, how many of us actually used the airport when the flights were operating in and out of Hamilton internationally as they were in 2009? Did you use it then? Or did you prefer to make the trek to Auckland, knowing the drive was annoying but the savings in flight costs and lengths made the hassle of the car trip bearable and even worthwhile. Our bet is Hamilton, as a tourist destination doesn't have to be reliant on the airport. Many visitors use the road and see us as a stop off point as they travel down the North Island We've spoken to a fair few people from small businesses in The Waikato who maintain the latter. While the flights in and out of Hamilton at first seemed appealing, in reality they were somewhat cumbersome with long stopovers and connections and fairly hefty price tags attached. If you compare this to direct flights to Australia or the Pacific Islands and the more competitive prices from Auckland Airport, it's a no-brainer. People use Auckland for flight and they tend to drive in and out of places like Hamilton as part of holiday travel plans. Local Tourism Hamilton Does this really need to affect out tourism in the region? To some degree it may do so. But being Hamilton born and bred, the team in at Slater Chartered Accountants still think there's a lot we can promote and put forward. We have the following attraction that make for fantastic tourism fun:
- Waikato River walks. The south bank is the sunniest. Start at the north-west end of the CBD and head towards Auckland. A beautiful stroll
- Hamilton Gardens. These are a jewel to experience. The Indian garden is awash with poppies in Spring so now is a good time
- Lake Rotoroa. The recent upgrade around the foreshore make this a great place for a sunny stroll. And kids love the playground and feeding the ducks.
- Art Gallery and Museum. They're a fantastic place to visit. Learn about indigenous culture and the interactive area is a great addition for little ones.
- Farmers Market. These open at 8am on a Sunday and offer the best of Waikato produce. Get up early for the fresh food and experience on River Road.
- Raglan. Experience the alternative lifestyle area and enjoy the harbour and the rugged west coast beaches. Windswept and wild and beautiful in summer. There's a host of fantastic eateries and shops. Don't miss Tony Sly Pottery out at the jetty.
- Cambridge. Just a short drive and a great spot for lunch or brunch.
- Lido Cinema
- Creative Waikato
There's a load of great tourism ideas and destinations in our region. Let's do our bit and promote these as far afield as possible.
The sky's the limit for Hamilton. Be a part of it and support local business and tourism.