Tourism operators are upbeat with almost half expecting to make more money during the coming year amid gloom felt by other small and medium-size businesses.

An MYOB survey finds 20 per cent of NZ's tourism operators expect to hire more workers this year and 34 per cent expect to increase wages.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor survey has found 45 per cent expect their business' revenue to be up in 12 months' time.

Only 17 per cent say they expect it to be down.


Tourism is ''considerably'' more positive than the SME sector average, with only 32 per cent of all operators forecasting their revenue will be up, while 19 per cent will be down.

MYOB country manager, Ingrid Cronin Knight, said the local tourism sector had been enjoying steady growth despite concerns among local SMEs about the direction of the economy.

The tourism industry is New Zealand's largest export industry, employing one in seven Kiwis.

"It's critical to our economy, and although international trade concerns, new legislation around tax, and threats to local and international security have certainly shaken the economy in recent months, it is important local tourism operators are confident enough to get on with business as usual."

Confidence in the economy is also higher among tourism operators. According to the survey of 1000 business owners, more than two fifths (43 per cent ) of the tourism sector expect the New Zealand economy to decline this year, while a third (32 per cent) expect it to improve.

In contrast, nearly half (48 per cent) of all SMEs say they expect the local economy to worsen over the next 12 months, while less than a fifth (19 per cent) say it will increase.

"According to the survey, a third of tourism operators experienced revenue growth over the last 12 months," said Cronin-Knight.

A third of tourism operations will look at increasing their prices over the next 12 months.


Across the board, a quarter of all SMEs say they will be increasing their prices and margins on products or goods sold, according to the survey.

Tourist operators are feeling the pressure of rising fuel costs though.

More than two fifths (42 per cent) of businesses involved in the tourism industry say the cost of fuel will put ''extreme or quite a lot'' of pressure on their operations over the next 12 months.

Cronin-Knight said the cost of fuel often hits tourism operators twice.

''While they might feel the pinch themselves, the greater concern comes from the impact fuel costs can have on local and international tourists, given the industry is highly dependent on long-haul travel and a growing number of independent travellers who want to be highly mobile while they are here."

But despite this, the survey indicates tourism operators will offset these costs by increasing their prices and expanding their product or service.

Small to medium size tourism businesses are happier about the future than others. Photo / Supplied
Small to medium size tourism businesses are happier about the future than others. Photo / Supplied

One Rotorua SME tourism business on the move is OGO, which has bought Zorb, a similar rolling ball business.

Manager Melissa Craig said the purchase reflected confidence in tourism.

''Rotorua is going from strength to strength in terms of investing in the local (tourism business) community.

OGO will consolidate the two businesses on one site in what she says will be the world's biggest ball rolling park.

The deal also meant a journey has come full circle with the inventor of downhill ball rolling Andrew Akers buying back the company launched 25 years ago.

The addition of Zorb to OGO will allow the business to reinvest further in the infrastructure of the OGO site, improve the customer experience and cement the site.