A campaign created to inspire out-of-towners to enjoy a winter break in the Wairarapa has been hailed as a huge success by Destination Wairarapa, the regional tourism organisation.

Destination Wairarapa marketing manager Barb Hyde says the 2016 winter campaign is the organisation’s most successful campaign to date.

The campaign was promoted using videos and targeted posts on Facebook and the Destination Wairarapa database, as well as being publicised during the Wellington Women’s Lifestyle Expo. It resulted in a 60% increase in traffic to the organisation’s website  www.wairarapanz.com compared to the same period in 2015 and increased engagement on Facebook. There were over 7500 entries for its competition to win A Great Wairarapa Unwind.

“A key element of our 2016 Winter Campaign was for two people to win A Great Wairarapa Unwind prize including a Pashley bike from Blackwell & Sons in Greytown; two nights’ accommodation at The White Swan in Greytown including dinner; and a Margrain Vineyard winery tour in Martinborough. We had an incredible 7500 competition entries and are thrilled to announce that Rachel Morey from Auckland is our lucky winner,” says Barb.

The increased website traffic also led to increased accommodation bookings for June and July, which were up 32% compared to last year.

Ms Hyde says these figures are encouraging as they demonstrate more visitors are choosing to come to the region during the winter months. She said Destination Wairarapa’s cheeky incentive of offering a tablet of Schoc Chocolate, a desirable product made in Greytown, for those who booked accommodation also gave people extra motivation to stay here.

Michelle Kirkpatrick, General Manager of the Copthorne Solway Wairarapa, says the hotel has always been a firm favourite holiday destination and this July was no exception.

“This winter we’ve been busy especially during the school holidays when there was an increase in families taking advantage of special winter package deals and terrific facilities,” she says. “It was heartening to see families playing board games together in the lower lounge and enjoying the family friendly atmosphere of the property.”

Helen Tickner, General Manager of Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, says it has also been a great winter to date, partly because of the warmer than usual weather and also because of the new free flight aviary. In addition, Pukaha’s junior ranger programme was full most days during the July school holidays.

“People have been wrapping up warm and getting outside regardless of the weather this winter and are enjoying the full daily programme of talks we have as well as our new free flight aviary, which is proving to be extremely popular,” she says.