Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 398,300 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. Wellington is the World's southernmost capital city of a sovereign state.
The Wellington urban area comprises four cities: Wellington city, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour, contains the central business district and about half the population; Porirua on Porirua Harbour to the north is notable for its large Māori and Pacific Island communities; Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt are largely suburban areas to the northeast, together known as the Hutt Valley.
The 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world. In 2011 Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011 named Wellington as fourth in its Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011, referring to it as the "coolest little capital in the world".
Tourism is a major contributor to the economy, injecting approximately NZ$1.3 billion into the region annually and accounting for 9% of total FTE employment. The city is consistently named as New Zealanders’ favourite destination in the quarterly FlyBuys Colmar Brunton Mood of the Traveller survey and it was fourth in Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011’s Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011. New Zealanders make up the largest visitor market, with 3.6 million visits each year. New Zealand visitors spend on average NZ$2.4 million a day. There are approximately 540,000 international visitors each year, who spend 3.7 million nights and NZ$436 million. The largest international visitor market is Australia, with over 210,000 visitors spending approximately NZ$334 million annually.
Wellington is marketed as the 'coolest little capital in the world' by Positively Wellington Tourism, an award-winning regional tourism organisation set up as a council controlled organisation by Wellington City Council in 1997. The organisation’s council funding comes through the Downtown Levy commercial rate. In the decade to 2010, the city saw growth of over 60% in commercial guest nights. It has been promoted through a variety of campaigns and taglines, starting with the iconic Absolutely Positively Wellington advertisements. The long-term domestic marketing strategy was a finalist in the 2011 CAANZ Media Awards.
Popular tourist attractions include Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Wellington Zoo, Zealandia and Wellington Cable Car. Cruise tourism is experiencing a major boom in line with nationwide development. The 2010/11 season saw 125,000 passengers and crew visit on 60 liners. There were 80 vessels booked for visits in the 2011/12 season – estimated to inject more than NZ$31 million into the economy and representing a 74% increase in the space of two years.
Wellington is a popular conference tourism destination due to its compact nature, cultural attractions, award-winning restaurants and access to government agencies. In the year ending March 2011, there were 6495 conference events involving nearly 800,000 delegate days; this injected approximately NZ$100 million into the economy.