Question - If I need to target a specific region, is it helpful to have a domain from that country?
Answer - Yes. Both hosting location and domain extension matter and can influence search engine ranking in regional search engines. If you are attempting to target a specific country, you could very well benefit from purchasing a domain with that countries extension and hosting the website on a server that is located in that country. The larger country specific search engines, generally rank local domains higher in the search results.