Rotorua Weekender: Local economy tracking well

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

If you drive around Rotorua there seems to be a lot going on at the moment. New buildings going up on Fairy Spring Road and Te Ngae Road, ongoing investment in tourism, the continual beautification of the CBD and surrounding areas, and important investment in forestry and the wood processing industries.

Just last week I hosted an Austrian businessman who is looking to invest $30m in wood processing in New Zealand to create 90 jobs. He is seriously considering Rotorua as his investment destination and, in turn, will employ local people to run his new venture. And why not Rotorua, we're close to a New Zealand's busiest port, we are close to natural resources, particularly trees, we have good infrastructure, and we have a dedicated and skilled workforce. We are certainly open for business.

After the Global Financial Crisis, and all of the hard work that many have put in locally, things are looking up for us. A nationwide economic survey released by Infometrics this week found that Rotorua’s GDP grew by 4.3 per cent in the June quarter, the highest increase in the country. For the full 12 months since June last year, Rotorua grew by 3.2 per cent – ahead of the national average.

There is a growing feeling of confidence from people and businesses in the community. This is being demonstrated by investment decisions and a desire to grow the local economy.

Rotorua has enjoyed one of the best June's in terms of international and domestic tourism and trade. In total 27,600 people visited Rotorua, with the majority coming from parts of Asia and North America. International visitors also spent more while they were here in the month of June, with Credit Card data showing a 41 per cent increase in spending, compared with last year. The Infometrics report also found that visitors stayed here for longer – a big vote of confidence in our city.

With more visitors staying longer and spending more it’s local hotels and motels that benefited. With ongoing investment in businesses, our city continues to grow. With significant and important investment in value added wood processing, jobs are being created. We've come a long way over the last few years, and there's still more to do.