Tourism Opportunities Plan

The Waikato region is New Zealand’s fifth largest tourism region, with $1.3 billion in visitor expenditure. The Hamilton and Waikato Visitor Strategy 2014 aims to grow visitor expenditure in this region from $1 billion in 2014 to $1.35 billion in 2025. This goal requires clear strategies to identify the tourism opportunities that have the greatest potential to drive growth, yield and dispersal in the region.

What is the plan?

The Tourism Opportunities Plan for the Hamilton and Waikato region provides a framework for delivering new and improved tourism experiences that have the potential to drive growth in the local tourism sector and its contribution to the regional economy.

The objectives of the Tourism Opportunities Plan are to:

  • Review and confirm the region’s visitor proposition including different parts of the region
  • Provide recommendations for the development of visitor experiences and infrastructure to support and enhance the tourism proposition
  • Provide investment recommendations and priorities to guide local government planning and resources, and private sector investment.

Tourism vision

Engagement and consultation with the community, industry and stakeholders has developed the following vision statement for tourism in the Hamilton and Waikato region:

“The mighty Waikato River is the lifeblood that flows throughout the region that embraces visitors, is recognised for its manaakitanga, and is alive with people enjoying authentic experiences, journeys and vibrant communities”


Our goals are that by 2025 the Hamilton and Waikato region will:

  • Be established as a competitive destination that attracts visitors who stay multiple nights, spend money on experiences, recommend the region to others and return
  • Be recognised by visitors as the home of Kiingitanga with exceptional visitor experiences that enable the visitor to immerse themselves in our unique Māori culture
  • Have a range of quality events and experiences that attract domestic and international markets year-round
  • Have added at least one new high quality visitor attraction that is on the ‘must do’ list for short itinerary markets currently predominantly visiting Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo
  • Offer a range of ways to engage with the Waikato River in vibrant settings in Hamilton and across the region.

Game changers

For the vision for Hamilton & Waikato tourism to be achieved, five game changing projects have been identified.

Activate the Waikato River across the region

Continue the process started in this plan to create a strong positioning for Hamilton & Waikato that provides the focus and underpins creative delivery and marketing campaigns to target markets

Implement the plans to revitalise the Waikato River to create a vibrant visitor hub in Hamilton

Create a region-wide plan and support for delivering a suite of Māori visitor experiences that tell the distinctive story of Kiingitanga in a range of ways and places

Develop a Regional Events Strategy that further secures, develops, promotes and encourages events which generate financial and social benefits to Hamilton & Waikato

Download the plan

You can download a copy of the Tourism Opportunities Plan – there is a summary version, as well as the full plan.

Download the Tourism Opportunities Plan Summary Report

Download the full Tourism Opportunities Plan

Further information

For further information about the Tourism Opportunities Plan, please contact:

Nicola Greenwell
Development Manager
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism
Phone: 07 843 1858

* Data Source: Ministry Business Innovation and Employment, Regional Tourism Estimates

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