Destinations

NZ tourism boom tipped after Harry’s visit

Sarah Robson - AAP

Tourism is expected to boom in Southland – and Stewart Island in particular – after Prince Harry’s visit to the area.

A contingent of British media has followed the 30-year-old prince to New Zealand and their pictures of the trip have been beamed around the world.

There has also been a lot of local media coverage.

Southland Mayor Gary Tong says he’s expecting a “real boom” in visitors to the often overlooked region.

“We have got a drawcard in Stewart Island – it’s one of our Southland gems,” Mr Tong told AAP.

Mr Tong was on the island on Sunday as Prince Harry was taught to shuck an oyster – and so was the media.

“When I turned and saw all these lenses looking at me I thought, wow, that photograph is going to go around the world and people will even just come here for the kaimoana (seafood),” he said.

The atmosphere on Stewart Island for the prince’s one-and-a-half day visit has been relaxed.

“There’s been no pomp and ceremony asked for; he wanted to feel the community as they are, and that’s happened,” Mr Tong said.

Venture Southland tourism team leader Warrick Low said while Southland was well known for special interests such as bird-watching, Prince Harry’s visit “just elevates its attention”.

“There’s not a lot of people down here and there’s not a lot of people who visit,” he said.

“It maintains our lifestyle a bit, but at the same time we’re a big powerhouse in the economy; we contribute well above our weight in terms of production.

“With that comes people, but with tourism comes different cultures, different experiences.”

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