City’s summer hospitality is booming
The weather may have been patchy, but city hospitality is beaming after a strong summer spend up, driven by the holiday season and a solid calender of events.
Hospitality NZ regional manager Chris Hince said there was a really positive atmosphere among the city’s bar and restaurant owners who’ve been kept busy with the holiday crowds.
December spending in Palmerston North via Paymark electronic transactions grew at roughly triple the rate of spending in the previous two years combined.
Between 2013 and 2015 the value of Palmerston North’s December transactions increased 3.2 per cent to $164.8 million. But last December $181.6m was spent in the city over the Paymark network, 9 per cent more than in 2015.
Paymark spokesman Paul Brislen said Kiwi shoppers’ spending has built up strong momentum over the past four years, which had swing into a busy pre-Christmas season for 2016 across the country.
‘‘Noticeably the annual underlying growth rate in December was higher in the regions away from the major cities, suggesting more time spent at the baches and beaches this Christmas.’’
Hawke’s Bay took the top spot at 10.9 per cent growth, followed closely by Bay of Plenty, Otago and Palmerston North.
Ricky Quirk, owner of five Palmerston North bars, said 2016 had been a pretty good year overall, but after a good build up, custom had dropped right off during the holiday season.
Business revved up again last week thanks to an extra day of stockcar action.
‘‘[Business] has been great with the stockcars in town - especially since we got an extra day with all the fans around after one was rained out.’’
Big ticket events such as Nitro Circus this month, and a Warriors pre-season game in February, will help keep a steady flow of patrons through the city’s bars and restaurants, Quirk said.
The Celtic bar manager JD Matthews said it’d been a busy Christmas in Regent Arcade, with plenty of people propping up the bar right through December to New Year’s Day.
‘‘We’re happy from every perspective; we had good crowds, we gave good service and we didn’t have anyone starting trouble.’’
A big summer is expected for Palmerston North’s hospitality industry after a strong holiday season.