Terrorist attack unlikely to hit economy in long-term

Christchurch businesses have been impacted by the terrorist attack, but experts say it is unlikely to hit the city’s economy long-term.

Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale said the attack, where 50 people were killed by a lone gunman in two Christchurch mosques, did have an immediate impact with business becoming quieter than usual.

But he did not think there would be a long-term negative impact.

“These sort of atrocities happen all over the world, we can’t do anything but carry on and live with the new reality,” he said.

However, Canterbury University economics professor Tom Coupe, who has studied the impact of terrorism on cities around the world, said the immediate signs to the economy showed it had stayed steady.

“On average, within a year things go back to normal . . . in general, there is not a big impact on economy unless there’s more than one attack,” he said.

“Data on the back of the attack and the stock market reaction in New Zealand, I didn’t see much change there . . . no clear effect.”

Although Prof Coupe said it would be hard to predict exactly how the city’s economy would fare in the aftermath of the attack

“Every specific terrorist attack can have a different impact,” he said.

It comes at a time when tourism, events and economic development agency ChristchurchNZ is closely monitoring visitor metrics.

A ChristchurchNZ spokesperson said the data includes visitor number statistics tracked through Christchurch International Airport.

It is also monitoring spending figures, including visitor spend which is derived from the MarketView data that tracks transactions.

City councillor Jamie Gough said there could be an immediate impact on numbers of visitors, which would be tough for the city.

“Short-term, there will be a drop-off, which we can ill afford when we’re still dealing with the medium and long-term impacts of the earthquake,” he said.

“But long-term, that remains to be seen.”

Cr Gough said the response to the attack by the city and New Zealand would speak to the rest of the world.

Prof Coupe also said the positive reaction from Christchurch and New Zealand would also help mitigate any potential negative impact.

The most similar case to March 15 was the terrorist attack in Norway in 2011 where 77 people were killed by a lone gunman, who also detonated a car bomb, he said.

It had not impacted the country’s economy long-term.

Canterbury Hospitality New Zealand president Peter Morrison said any fears the terrorist attack may impact tourism were unlikely to happen.

“I don’t think it’s going it make a big difference. We’ve had a lot of tourists come and staying who say it wouldn’t put them off coming to Christchurch. It happens all over the world,” he said.

Mr Morrison said it was headed into the quiet winter period and the city would have had time to heal before the busy summer season.