Counting the damage

This week has been an eventful one for us here at Infometrics.  Even though our Wellington office is closed, we’re still up and running, working from home.  The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for Statistics NZ – their building has sustained severe damage and a few data releases have been delayed this week.  These recent events have prompted us to focus on New Zealand’s disaster resilience and the effects this earthquake will have on our tourism industry.

Regional growth isn’t only about the big cities

It has been a good year so far for most parts of regional New Zealand, with much of the country enjoying healthy economic growth across a range of spending, investment, and labour market indicators. For many places, renewed interest in their local economies has been a welcome change, after years of subdued spending and population stagnation. This article gives a quick round up of some key themes apparent in Infometrics’ June 2016 Quarterly Economic Monitor, with links to more insights about selected areas.

The demand crisis facing tourism

Soaring international visitor arrival numbers have thrown the spotlight on New Zealand’s tourism sector, with concerns expressed about whether we have the infrastructure to cope with the massive lift in arrivals that has occurred over the last three years.  John Key has pledged $12m to provide better facilities, such as public toilets, to areas with small populations but a big tourism presence.  The government has also established “Project Palace” to try and attract investment for the construction of new hotels, with the availability of accommodation becoming a significant constraint in many parts of the country.

A brighter outlook for young people in the services industry

The services industry is a key component of New Zealand’s economy, employing about 400,000 people or 18% of all workers in New Zealand. It relies heavily on young people with 30% of workers aged 15-24. Many of these young people work part time, often to fit work around other commitments like school or tertiary study. Some of these young workers stay on in the sector to become experts in their field, like world renowned chef Josh Emett while others stay for a short period of time, like I did, and learn valuable transferable people skills that can be used in other aspects of their working lives.

Don’t just build hotels, embrace private accommodation

With capacity constraints in the commercial accommodation sector biting, it is time that private accommodation provision is embraced as part of solution to managing peak load in the tourism sector. This article quantifies the scale of the private accommodation resource and why the public sector is failing to take it seriously.

Executive Summary – March 2016 Forecasts

Fears that we’d have to lower flags to half-mast to mourn the demise of the domestic economy during 2016 now seem to be ill-founded. Confidence levels have improved over the last six months, and indicators of the labour market and household spending have been fluttering in the wind. Tourists and immigrants have been flocking to our shores and boosting activity – once they’ve realised that our four-star offering is superior to Australia’s six-star version.

2016 Regional Economic Profile Update

Infometrics web-based annual Regional Economic Profiles have become the benchmark for gaining an in-depth understanding of the economic structure and performance of NZ’s regions and local authorities over time. With a wealth of information ranging from employment, GDP right through to tourism estimates, housing affordability and beneficiary numbers there is something for everyone.

Handbrake released for regional tourism operators

The handbrake has been lifted for tourism operators in regional New Zealand, after years of underperformance following the Global Financial Crisis.  Data from Statistics New Zealand shows that guest nights in2014 grew in 48 of New Zealand’s 66 territorial authorities (excluding Chatham Islands), adding to evidence from Infometrics’ regional GDP database that 50 territorial authorities had positive growth in tourism GDP over the March 2014 year.