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Cruise ships, tourism and local spending lifts Wellington economy

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster has welcomed figures showing tourism has helped fuel the capital’s economy and boosted the city’s GDP above the national average.

The Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor was released on Thursday, alongside the Wellington City Retail Sales Report, both for the year to the end of September.

"It’s heartening to see the latest figures," Mayor Foster says. "Tourist numbers are increasing and they are spending nearly $2 billion a year in the city.

"Our GDP growth is above the national average, and the unemployment rate has dropped from 4.3 percent to 3.5 per cent.

"Wellington City Council is also approving an increasing value of building work – the rate of growth in that area is exceeding the national average."

Councillor Diane Calvert, who holds the Economic Development Portfolio, says the figures show good news for hospitality businesses and retailers.

Wellington city merchants recorded electronic card retail spend of $3.22 billion in the year to September 2019, up by 3.7 per cent.

This was driven largely by more people eating out and an increase in spending in the automotive category, like fuel, repairs and maintenance.

"Hospitality recorded the largest increase, of $49.8m, and seven out of the eight merchant categories had higher levels of sales," Diane says.

The figures also show a 28 per cent increase in the value of the cruise ship trade. Cruise ships will make more than 120 visits to Wellington this season.

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