Tracy Martin says the organisers of the On The House campaign have ‘nailed it’ in an amazingly short space of time. Photo Merrie Hewetson

Waiheke’s Covid-ravaged economy is to receive a much-needed shot in the arm thanks to a scheme targeted at gifting visitors “free” accommodation and pumping what they save back into local businesses.

The innovative On The House project has been turned around in double-quick time (these marketing campaigns can usually take months) in a bid to promote it over Queen’s Birthday Weekend and attract hundreds of visitors to the island on Friday 19 June and Saturday 20 June.

The idea is that the more than 80 homeowners and accommodation providers who are taking part will forego their rental fee, (less linen, cleaning and administration costs), and then refund the balance in “Waiheke Dollar” vouchers than can be spent at a wide range of businesses throughout the island.

Although it’s clear that providers will take a hit on the potential income from a couple of nights’ accommodation, the idea is that it will “prime the pump” for more marketing events, raise the profile of Waiheke as an ideal winter destination, and bring some cash back into an economy that lost two months’ worth of a busy late summer and autumn tourism season.

The project is the brainchild of several local Waiheke residents including Kim Rae, owner of Stay Waiheke, a home rental business on the island. • James Belfield

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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