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Consumer spending leaps

20 October 2016, The Gisborne Herald

Rise of 12 percent compared to same month last year.

AN influx of visitors to Gisborne during the spring school holidays has been pointed to as a potential reason for a “remarkable” $4.4 million rise in consumer spending here. 

New figures released by Paymark, which processes more than 75 percent of all electronic card transactions in New Zealand, show consumers spent $36.8m on credit or debit cards here last month, a rise of 12 percent compared with the same month last year.

Tourism Eastland chief executive Stuart Perry believes coming just a month after accommodation outlets recorded a 26 percent rise in accommodation numbers for August, the “remarkable” Paymark figures could be seen as “pay off” for years of hard work in promoting the district.

Mr Perry said all accommodation statistics and data showed a “marked increase” in visits to Gisborne.

“A lot of that is sports teams and school groups travelling over the holidays but the important thing to recognise is all that hard work that Tourism Eastland, operators and the industry itself have been doing over the last few years is starting to pay off.

“Everyone I’m talking to is saying it’s really pumping. In the visitor industry you get your highs and lows. We’re experiencing a very satisfactory high at the moment and that’s reflecting in those Paymark figures.

Get tourists to spend

“The only reason we want more visitors to come here is to get them to spend here to help our economy and the Paymark figures are saying that’s happening, and that’s brilliant.”

Only Southland (up 16.6 percent) experienced a bigger rise in spending.

The total number of transactions in Gisborne rose 13.3 percent to 890,000. Only Hawke’s Bay (up 13.4 percent) experienced a bigger increase in transactions.

However, solely taking into account purchases made on debit cards, Gisborne experienced the nation’s largest percentage increase with debit card purchases rising 8.9 percent to $26.1m.

Heart of Gisborne manager Lana Davy said it was great to see the trend of rising figures continuing.

“It’s very positive for local businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors especially. This is generally seen to be a lower time of the year, seeing increases during these months is very warming.

“The school holidays during September would have helped to show the increased spend. Tourism spending is looking to increase over the next few months also. Gisborne is becoming a destination with visitors enjoying what we have to offer.”

Activate Tairawhiti chief executive Steve Breen said the figures reinforced previous economic monitoring results that indicated this region continued to perform well relative to others.

“If our industries are doing well, and our economy continues to grow, then we have a local economy that can support the range of infrastructure, businesses, services and amenities that our community requires.”

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