Work began on a major hotel development for Auckland’s Britomart Precinct this week – as a new report highlighted the lack of accommodation stifling tourism growth in the city.
Colliers International research shows New Zealand is failing to capitalise on its tourist boom because of a shortage of hotel rooms in key tourism regions, including the capital and Queenstown.
The country recorded 3.7 million international visitors last year, placing pressure on existing accommodation and tourism infrastructure and prompting plans for a tax on international visitors.
While a raft of new hotels are in the pipeline for Auckland, completion dates are some years away – making TFE’s Hotel Britomart (completion date 2020) a welcome addition.
“The economic cost to the country from not having these new hotels available over the past five years has been substantial,” said Dean Humphries, Colliers’ national director of hotels and tourism.
“It is hard to believe that we have seen virtually no net addition to our hotel inventory this decade, despite almost 1.5 million additional tourists visiting New Zealand.
“In Auckland, our gateway city, we have seen a mere 526 rooms added to the hotel stock since 2013. It’s even worse in Queenstown, where we have only seen 158 new rooms.
“Fortunately, a number of new hotels are now under construction, and the pipeline of mooted projects is growing, particularly in Auckland.
“However, the big question on everyone’s minds is when, and if, they will be completed.”
Auckland will host two major international events over the next three years, The America’s Cup and the APEC summit. Both are expected to swell tourist numbers to record levels.
“We really need new supply but delivery is very slow, with the majority of new hotel stock not expected until post-2021,” said Humphries.
The Britomart project is slated for completion well before then, adding 99 rooms and five suites of “luxe accommodation” to the Auckland inventory.
Located on the corner of Gore and Galway streets, the project will include the refurbishment and restoration of the adjoining Masonic and Buckland heritage buildings.
Matthew Cockram, CEO of developers Cooper and Company, said the new hotel’s central location would “provide easy access to the amenities and a wide range of food, beverage and retail offerings of the Britomart precinct.”
The ground floor will offer shops and restaurants, with the new hotel separated from the adjacent heritage buildings by a laneway that will lead to the hotel’s main entrance and form a new connection with Customs Street through the Masonic Building.
However, the Hotel Britomart’s capacity is a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to catering for Auckland’s future accommodation needs.
A recent New Zealand Trade and Enterprise study found the city will need up to 4,000 new guestrooms by 2025 to meet the demand.