Big spenders splashing out in Marlborough

Marlborough Motel Association president and Knightsbridge Court Motor Lodge owner Richie Dickens.

Marlborough Motel Association president and Knightsbridge Court Motor Lodge owner Richie Dickens.

People using their eftpos and credit cards have spent nearly $60 million in Marlborough this year, new figures show.

Paymark data shows the value of transactions in the region, from January to March, has climbed by 12.3 per cent on last year.

This was the third highest increase in New Zealand, behind only Bay of Plenty and Otago, which grew by 13.4 and 12.4 per cent respectively. 

Spending was up nationally by 7.1 per cent.

Paymark figures show strong January spending in Marlborough
March Paymark data shows Kiwis still flashing the cash

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People spent a total of $59.4 million through eftpos and credit card transactions in Marlborough in the March quarter. 

Marlborough, the West Coast and the Bay of Plenty reported the highest increase in spending over the Easter weekend compared to the three weeks leading up to Easter.

Blenheim Business Association chairman Anthony Mullen said the increase on last year was fantastic, especially as the annual Easter airshow was in Wanaka this year, rather than Marlborough. 

Businesses told him Christmas sales were better than average for them, and this seemed to have flowed onto Easter, he said. 

Sectors such as accommodation and housing supplies experienced the largest increase in spending nationally.

Mullen said it would be good to have a regional breakdown of spending by sector.

A total of 1.13 million transactions were made in Marlborough between January and March. 

Marlborough also had the third largest annual increase in the country in both volume and value of transactions for the last three months of 2015, behind the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. 

Marlborough Motel Association president Richie Dickens said motel owners had reported a good summer and an early start to the season, with guests beginning to stay in October rather than December. 

"In a general sense the mood is pretty buoyant," he said. 

The association expected the increase in guests to continue over the next two years. While tourism was partly responsible for the growth of the hospitality industry, the "bread and butter" for motel owners was supporting industries such as viticulture and aquaculture throughout the year. 

Motels catered for a lot of commercial travellers, he said.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said Marlborough tourism operators had experienced a strong summer, with some telling her they had a record summer. 

The organisation conducted a survey with tourism operators in the region and 80 per cent said they had experienced an increase on last year, she said. 

No. 4 Boutique owner Hayley MacDonald said the Blenheim fashion shop had an outstanding summer, and it was lucky to have massive local support. 

Although the summer was over, tourists were still coming to Blenheim, with older tourists continuing to travel later in the year, MacDonald said. 

Thomas's Department Store co-owner Tim Thomas said the store also had a very good summer.

Sales were up 13 per cent on this time last year, he said. 

 - The Marlborough Express


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