Coastal News

Monday, August 24, 2015

There is no escaping the fact this winter has been difficult for dairy farmers. It’s not the weather that has been so much the problem but rather the financial realities of a significantly lower pay-out. Much has already been said by all kinds of experts and analysts. But the simple fact is dairy farmers are doing it tough right now and are facing the prospect of another difficult season next year. There is an obvious knock on effect for businesses that service the dairy sector and they too are facing the stark realities of a cyclical global commodities market.

Both dairy farmers and the dairy service sector know there will be an upturn. They have been here before. It’s a question of when not if.

But amongst all the talk we should remember that while dairy is important, it is but one part of a much wider and very diverse New Zealand economy. Dairy makes up about 5% of our total GDP.

Just a couple of years ago, when dairy was on a high, our tourism sector was in the doldrums. The Global Financial Crisis hit tourism harder than almost every other part of our economy. Our dollar was high and international tourists simply stopped travelling.

Today our tourism industry is booming. This year we will welcome a record 3 million visitors to New Zealand. People are travelling again and our lower dollar is making New Zealand an easier destination choice for many. Tourists are arriving in larger numbers than ever before. They are staying longer and they are spending more.

Australia, China and the United States were the biggest contributors to the bumper figures for June.  Australian holiday arrivals were up 11.9 per cent on last year.

Tourism is already our second largest export earner and there is every indication it will be our top earner very soon.

The growth in international and domestic visitor spend in the past two years has been great and if the projections are any guide it looks set to continue. We are looking at a $41 billion a year industry by 2025 which will generate more local jobs and general prosperity.

The challenge for us here on the East Coast of the Coromandel is to ensure we get more than our fair share of those visitors spending time and money in our region. We have the natural environmental beauty that is the Coromandel and close proximity to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga all working in our favour. I’m 100% confident our region is ready for the challenge of receiving more visitors and that we are up for the economic benefits that will flow our way.