THIS year’s Southland Business Survey results show confidence has increased within the Southland business community.
Returning to 2014 levels, 78% of businesses are positive about the Southland economy and business environment. This is a major shift from last year, when only 59% of businesses were positive.
Venture Southland business and strategic projects general manager Steve Canny said the recovery of commodity prices and the tourism boom has had a significant impact on the region’s economic outlook.
“We are excited to see business confidence in the region improving. Eighty-seven percent of Southland businesses are positive about their own business, exceeding the 2014 levels (83%). Business performance in sales remains strong with 92% of businesses experiencing either steady or increased sales, up 12% on 2016, and a record low of 8% are experiencing decreasing sales.”
Mr Canny said the most confident sectors were those relating to tourism. Other survey findings show that attraction of staff is the top issue likely to affect 54% of businesses in the next three years, followed by concern about communications (such as broadband quality or cellphone coverage) at 39%.
Over the next year, 57% of businesses plan to invest in staff training and upskilling, 42% in online marketing and 40% in plant/machinery.
Four hundred and one businesses took part in this year’s survey.