Reports released showing contribution of the Blue Economy and Visitor sectors to regional economy

Reports released showing contribution of the Blue Economy and Visitor sectors to regional economy

Written by Gareth Power Gordon

Posted on Friday 5 May 2023

NRDA has published two Sector Profiles, highlighting how the Blue Economy and Visitor Economy contribute to the Nelson Tasman economy and support our economic wellbeing. Today's release shows the Blue Economy is worth over $300million and Visitor Economy over $230million to our regional GDP.

Fiona Wilson, CE of NRDA says, "The Blue Economy and the Visitor Economy are two significant sectors of the Nelson Tasman Economy. In releasing these reports, we hope this sheds light on the contribution they make to our overall economic wellbeing."

"These sector profiles aim to increase our understanding of key industries. They include information on the sectors size, their contribution to our regional economy, how they relate to what we are trying to achieve in the region, and some of the challenges and opportunities the industry faces.

"Now is the perfect time to release these reports, on the back of the recent announcement of Government funding for Moananui, New Zealand's Blue Economy Cluster based in Nelson Tasman, and while the Visitor Economy is on the road to recovery following Covid-19," Wilson says.

The Blue Economy Sector Profiles show the industry is worth $332million in GDP, providing over 3,600 jobs and almost 400 businesses in Nelson Tasman. "Announcements such as Moananui highlight that Te Tauihu is truly New Zealand's home to the Blue Economy," says Wilson. 

The Visitor Sector Profile shows the visitor spend in 2022 was $299million, with 4295 jobs. "While the outlook for the visitor economy has been especially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector is on the road to recovery. While the report released today focuses on the full 2022 year, showing the visitor spend of $299m in 2022, the latest figures just released (year to March 2023) show total spend was $330m which compares very well to the pre-Covid year to March 2019 at $290m," Wilson says.

Gareth Power Gordon, NRDA's Manager Regional Strategy and Investment, says the profiles outline government policy and future direction, which is important for knowing what investments may be required. "The sector profiles have been developed to provide a scan of current context, assets, challenges and components of the region's Blue Economy and Visitor economy, to inform priorities for NRDA and partners to deliver against.

"The Blue Economy report outlines a number of government policies, strategies and regulatory developments which will have a critical impact on the future development of the Blue Economy sector. For example, the Government's Aquaculture Strategy seeks to grow the national aquaculture industry to reach revenues of $3.5b by 2035, and Nelson Tasman is well placed to be at the front of this growth.

"The Visitor Sector report outlines that the sector faces a variety of challenges beyond reduced visitor numbers and worker shortages, such as the Covid-related exhaustion of business reserves and confidence - which challenges capability and capacity for investment and product development. Additionally, environmental access, social license challenges, central government funding capacity constraints and sustainability are other identified challenges".

"We also know that future growth and development in both the Blue Economy and Visitor economy will rely heavily on the availability of appropriately skilled and experienced employees, and the profiles outline how this can impact our future economy," says Power Gordon.  

NRDA plan to release a number of sector profiles this year, including Forestry and Wood Processing, Food and Beverage and Horticulture, to highlight key industries in Nelson Tasman.

Please find copies of the Blue Economy Sector Profile, April 2023 & Visitor Economy Sector Profile, April 2023, or visit