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Love Local aims to lure people back to Wellington CBD

Lambton Quay Wellington

A campaign is being launched in Wellington’s CBD aiming to help retailers who are suffering from foot traffic decimated by the effects of Covid-19 lockdowns and changed working habits.

Called “Love Local” the campaign encourages people to buy from local businesses in the heart of the city facing diminished foot traffic and revenue.

Wellington New Zealand marketing GM Anna Calver says the central city is full of interesting shops, eateries, bars, and all manner of service businesses, crammed into the most walkable city in the world. It gives the capital a global reputation as a great place to visit and live.

She emphasised the need to maintain the vibrancy of CBD, the economic engine room for the Wellington region.

“Although the heartbeat of downtown Wellington still beats strongly however, it faces the challenge of lower foot traffic as more people work from home,” she said.

The number of people walking through Wellington Central (Lambton Quay, The Terrace and Willis Street) is estimated to be down by about 30-35 per cent during the week, and even more on Fridays, compared to the days before the Covid crisis.

The data shows commuters on rail declined by 18 per cent and bus patronage by 12 per cent compared to July last year.

This has created a significant impact on the spending in Wellington City which fell by 9.8 per cent for the four weeks ending September 13, compared to the same period in 2019. The decline is in contrast to the rest of the Wellington region.

First Retail MD Chris Wilkinson says Love Local has captured Wellingtonians’ interest and loyalty – successfully refocusing spending and goodwill towards stores and hospitality venues.

“With the relaxation in alert levels we know people are anxious to get back shopping and dining in earnest, so this new campaign is well-timed to support businesses when they can benefit most.”

Calver added that Wellington New Zealand is also focusing on events as a way to attract people into the city.

“Currently, Digital Nights Wellington – Van Gogh Alive is providing an immersive art experience under the waterfront’ stars, the All Blacks face Australia at Sky Stadium on October 11, and the World of Wearable Art – Up Close immersive exhibition takes you on a theatrical journey like  no other at Te Papa from December 12 until February 14”, said Calver.

The Love Local campaign has a budget of $75,000. 

A significant number of visitors that will boost the local economy is being expected as long as the city remains at Alert Level 1, which doesn’t restrict crowds.

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