Visitors boost Gisborne's fortunes

The December spend locally was more than 8 percent higher than for the previous year.

The December spend locally was more than 8 percent higher than for the previous year.

File picture

THE influx of visitors to the region gave businesses a big boost with a cool $50 million spent in the final month of 2015.

Data from electronic transaction processing company Paymark confirmed the year finished with a bumper month. Gisborne had 1.1 million eftpos transactions, accounting for $50.0m, a rise of 8.3 percent on the same time the previous year.

This was New Zealand’s sixth-biggest rise in transaction values, with most of it recorded in the final week of the month.

Flagship Eatery, still in its first year, provided owners Tom and Christine Boyce with a rush of customers that exceeded all their expectations. It started on Boxing Day and continued to build right through to New Year’s Eve, said Mrs Boyce.

“We are only a small cafe, not necessarily designed to cater to the numbers we had coming through during R&V, so we just tried our best to be prepared and feed as many people as possible.

“Customers were generally pretty patient and understanding, but I think it’s nice for our regulars when the craziness dies down.”

Mrs Boyce said they definitely appreciated the increase in business over those few days.

“By all accounts the festival was amazing this year, so I’m sure they’ll all be back next summer.”

Neighbourhood Pizzeria in Ballance Street Village has been open only two months. Owner Marcel Campbell said he was selling up to 150 pizzas a night but not to the clientele he was expecting.

Queues during R&V

Mr Campbell said he was used to the queues that came with Rhythm and Vines from his Wainui Store days about seven years ago but it never quite got to that level.

“But what we did get was a good thing, and that was the tourists.

“Tourists that were looking for good food and searching for something a little bit outside the box, which was really cool. We got to interact and give them an experience to remember.

“We only get a week or two and we have got to show off quickly.”

The arrival of visitors for the Rhythm and Vines festival also provided a busy time for mobile phone providers.

Vodafone and Spark both had mobile cell towers installed at the festival campsite, which together logged 3100 hours of phone calls.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said R&V festival-goers made 73,000 minutes of phone calls on Vodafone’s network and consumed 735,000 megabytes of data — a 42 percent increase on last year.

“The most popular time to call family and friends was between 11pm and 12am on New Year’s Eve, with voice minutes peaking at around 3590.

“Data usage peaked at 20 gigabytes (20,000MB) between 4pm and 5pm the same evening.”

Thousands of Mg of data

Between the start of the festival and 1pm on New Year’s Day, Spark customers at the event downloaded 800,000MB of data, logged 114,000 minutes of phone calls and sent 215,000 text messages.

Cafes noticed a different clientele but still did the same trade.

Frank and Albie’s owner David Whitfield said the absence of business customers over the week between Christmas and New Year was balanced by the incoming holidaymakers.

Bunnings and The Warehouse did a big trade, with hundreds of gumboots running out the door on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve along with raincoats, as the skies looked decidedly dodgy. But the rain held off and that was “just as well”, said one festival-goer who enjoyed the entertainment under dry skies.

Countdown store manager Paul Vincent said the summer period was always busy as Gisborne was a popular holiday spot for many Kiwis, particularly with festivals taking place.

“We always make sure we have plenty of stock available for our customers and order larger numbers of products that we know are sought after at this time of year.

“Products like water, sunscreen, after-sun and insect repellent are really popular with festival-goers, and meats and salads are popular with visitors and locals alike for barbecues.”

Up to December 21, just over $30m had been processed on electronic cards in Gisborne, with about $10m a week of electronic transactions recorded.

Nationally, Paymark’s initial December data showed strong spending growth throughout the country for December — up almost 8 percent to $5.49 billion, which would make it retail’s busiest month of the year.

The strongest growth was seen in Bay of Plenty (up 10.1 percent), Marlborough (up 9.9 percent), Auckland and Northland (up 9.2 percent), Southland (up 9 percent) and Otago (up 8.5 percent).

Paymark processes more than 75 percent of all electronic purchases, including point-of-sale cash withdrawals.

THE influx of visitors to the region gave businesses a big boost with a cool $50 million spent in the final month of 2015.

Data from electronic transaction processing company Paymark confirmed the year finished with a bumper month. Gisborne had 1.1 million eftpos transactions, accounting for $50.0m, a rise of 8.3 percent on the same time the previous year.

This was New Zealand’s sixth-biggest rise in transaction values, with most of it recorded in the final week of the month.

Flagship Eatery, still in its first year, provided owners Tom and Christine Boyce with a rush of customers that exceeded all their expectations. It started on Boxing Day and continued to build right through to New Year’s Eve, said Mrs Boyce.

“We are only a small cafe, not necessarily designed to cater to the numbers we had coming through during R&V, so we just tried our best to be prepared and feed as many people as possible.

“Customers were generally pretty patient and understanding, but I think it’s nice for our regulars when the craziness dies down.”

Mrs Boyce said they definitely appreciated the increase in business over those few days.

“By all accounts the festival was amazing this year, so I’m sure they’ll all be back next summer.”

Neighbourhood Pizzeria in Ballance Street Village has been open only two months. Owner Marcel Campbell said he was selling up to 150 pizzas a night but not to the clientele he was expecting.

Queues during R&V

Mr Campbell said he was used to the queues that came with Rhythm and Vines from his Wainui Store days about seven years ago but it never quite got to that level.

“But what we did get was a good thing, and that was the tourists.

“Tourists that were looking for good food and searching for something a little bit outside the box, which was really cool. We got to interact and give them an experience to remember.

“We only get a week or two and we have got to show off quickly.”

The arrival of visitors for the Rhythm and Vines festival also provided a busy time for mobile phone providers.

Vodafone and Spark both had mobile cell towers installed at the festival campsite, which together logged 3100 hours of phone calls.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said R&V festival-goers made 73,000 minutes of phone calls on Vodafone’s network and consumed 735,000 megabytes of data — a 42 percent increase on last year.

“The most popular time to call family and friends was between 11pm and 12am on New Year’s Eve, with voice minutes peaking at around 3590.

“Data usage peaked at 20 gigabytes (20,000MB) between 4pm and 5pm the same evening.”

Thousands of Mg of data

Between the start of the festival and 1pm on New Year’s Day, Spark customers at the event downloaded 800,000MB of data, logged 114,000 minutes of phone calls and sent 215,000 text messages.

Cafes noticed a different clientele but still did the same trade.

Frank and Albie’s owner David Whitfield said the absence of business customers over the week between Christmas and New Year was balanced by the incoming holidaymakers.

Bunnings and The Warehouse did a big trade, with hundreds of gumboots running out the door on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve along with raincoats, as the skies looked decidedly dodgy. But the rain held off and that was “just as well”, said one festival-goer who enjoyed the entertainment under dry skies.

Countdown store manager Paul Vincent said the summer period was always busy as Gisborne was a popular holiday spot for many Kiwis, particularly with festivals taking place.

“We always make sure we have plenty of stock available for our customers and order larger numbers of products that we know are sought after at this time of year.

“Products like water, sunscreen, after-sun and insect repellent are really popular with festival-goers, and meats and salads are popular with visitors and locals alike for barbecues.”

Up to December 21, just over $30m had been processed on electronic cards in Gisborne, with about $10m a week of electronic transactions recorded.

Nationally, Paymark’s initial December data showed strong spending growth throughout the country for December — up almost 8 percent to $5.49 billion, which would make it retail’s busiest month of the year.

The strongest growth was seen in Bay of Plenty (up 10.1 percent), Marlborough (up 9.9 percent), Auckland and Northland (up 9.2 percent), Southland (up 9 percent) and Otago (up 8.5 percent).

Paymark processes more than 75 percent of all electronic purchases, including point-of-sale cash withdrawals.

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