New data from Stats NZ has shown that post-earthquake Kaikōura saw a significant amount of spending within the towns retail sector decrease – by a whole 25 percent.
The 2016 November earthquake devastated the region and caused many shops to temporality close while infrastructures where checked or rebuilt.
However, the reason the fall of 25 percent was so large was because the quake stopped the usual increase of tourists that the regions summer sees in warmer months.
The quake also caused slips that closed many roads in the area, isolating the Kaikoura town from potential travellers.
Retail and tourism-related sales in Kaikōura are usually strongly seasonal, with tourism bumping summer sales 50 percent higher than in the cooler months. However, as the earthquake struck just before the summer period it stopped the normal rush of tourists.
This eliminated the usual summertime peak, and left sales 25 percent ($7 million) lower in the December 2016 quarter than in the December 2015 quarter.
Sales in the March 2017 quarter rose from the December 2016 quarter, as road access returned in mid-December (via the Inland Kaikōura Road, and later SH1 to the south).
However, compared with the March 2016 quarter, March 2017 quarter sales remained 25 percent lower.
The loss of retail is significant for the small town who heavily relies on summer month profits cover what isn’t made through Winter. As the first Summer comes around since the quake, it is expected that the region will get its tourist spending pattern back.