The expected dampening of Christchurch’s economic growth is continuing to play out in the key economic indicators, but growth in central city hospitality and visitor spending has softened the impact on the economy.
The latest quarterly economic report from ChristchurchNZ shows rising unemployment and a slowdown in GDP growth, due largely to the expected decline in construction activity.
Bucking this downward trend is Christchurch’s growth in guest nights and visitor spending, both of which are outpacing the New Zealand average.
Guest nights in the central city increased by 17.7 percent over the past year (ending March 2019), compared to a national increase of 0.7% over the same period.
Christchurch also saw total visitor spend for the year ending March 2019 increase by 5 percent, compared to only 3.3 percent nationally.
"This is a very positive sign for the health of the central city, in particular the cafés, restaurants, bars and take-away establishments are experiencing increased spending"David Dyason - ChristchurchNZ Economist
The central city has also experienced an annual increase in retail spending growth to 14.3 percent, due to a combination of increased spending by local residents, residents from the adjacent regions and international visitors.
There can be several reasons for these increases but ChristchurchNZ economist David Dyason said one reason is likely the continued improvement of the CBD as a commercial district.
“Both Christchurch and the central city have seen an increase in retail spending year on year, in particular the central city has increased its share of this spend and continues to do so.
“This is a very positive sign for the health of the central city, in particular the cafés, restaurants, bars and take-away establishments are experiencing increased spending,” said Dyason.
For more information check out the full Quarterly Economic Update for the Christchurch and Canterbury economy for the March 2019 quarter.