Positive signs hard-hit region bouncing back from pandemic pain

Queenstown, New Zealand - September 5: Statue of William Gilbert Rees in Queenstown Mall on September 5, 2015 in Queenstown, New Zealand. est of New

Otago’s tourism hub, Queenstown, suffered while the country’s borders were closed, shutting out international tourists. Photo: 123RF

New data suggests Otago is bouncing back from the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The region was one of the country’s hardest hit when the border closed in March 2020, with tourist mecca Queenstown particularly suffering.

But data from accounting software firm Xero suggested the region was recovering.

In September, the number of small business jobs had grown 4.5 percent year-on-year, while small business wages grew 5.5 percent.

Xero New Zealand country manager Bridget Snelling said small business sales had increased 5.3 percent, which was a positive sign after the past two-and-a-half years.

“This growth is likely a reflection of small businesses increasing prices to cover rising costs. However, with international borders reopening and tourists returning, this has strengthened the local economy and is an encouraging sign for small businesses across Otago,” she said.

“As inflation continues to impact Kiwi businesses and families across the country, it’s great to see the region’s small business economy maintain solid sales and jobs growth.”

The data was compiled from anonymised and aggregated small business data for the region.

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