More than $3 billion was spent electronically through Paymark in the Bay of Plenty last year - and the local Chamber of Commerce head believes much of that would have been spent in Rotorua.

The $3,357,700,00 spent in the region in 2015 was a 7.8 per cent increase on what was spent in the Bay of Plenty in 2014, the biggest rise seen anywhere in the country except Nelson.

Darrin Walsh, Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive, believed Rotorua featured very highly as a contributor to the Paymark figures.

He said in his view it was largely to do with more and more tourists coming through the city.


"Local businesses are doing really well, the economy is up and people are spending.

"Looking forward, we know that we have these numbers going through, we have just had Crankworx so we will see an increase from that.

"I would expect that we will see increases over the next 12 months because Rotorua is on fire at the moment."

Rotorua Central Mall representative Peter Faulkner said the figures were excellent.

"The fundamental growth is a reflection on a range of factors, first, an increase in population, second, an increase in visitor numbers and thirdly just a general uplift in the local economy."

He said retailers were also generating a lot of activity in their own right.

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Nadia Goldbert, co-owner of Abracadabra cafe, said the figures reflected the way business was going.

"It's really cool that everyone is up in figures because it definitely looks like it."

She said last year was her and partner Justin Genest's second year as owners of the cafe and they had see a big improvement compared to their first.

"Our first year was really busy and this second year has been busier. We have seen more of the growth in tourism so I think that really helps.

"Everything has been going really good. There have been a lot of events on, which helps a lot.

"Crankworx was awesome for us. We had heaps of riders and support crews in, like the previous year. If you do a good job the first time then people come back.

"It's a great time to own a business."

Meanwhile, newly released figures from Statistics New Zealand show gains in two key measurements for the business sector in the Bay of Plenty.

Both total and per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are at all-time highs for the region, with total GDP reaching $12.29 million last financial year, up from $12.02 million in 2014.

Despite two of Rotorua main sectors - dairy and forestry - experiencing troubles, the economy was not only resilient, but growing, Mr Walsh said.

"Forestry's in a bit of blip at the moment, and dairy has something a bit bigger than a blip, but with what is happening in the tourism industry Rotorua's quite buoyant. If the other two were also contributing, Rotorua would be a rock star."

He said the feeling around the city was vibrant, and there are no signs the growth was slowing down.

Additional reporting by Jordan Bond
Bay of Plenty Paymark data for 2015:

* 70,850,000 transactions, up 8.7 per cent from 2014

* $3,357,700,000 spent, 7.8 per cent increase from 2014