The Queenstown Lakes District Council's holiday parks had a
poor July, in marked contrast to other sectors. Manager
Greg Hartshorne, pictured outside the Queenstown Lakeside
park yesterday, said the 2012 winter had been the quietest
he had experienced in 20 years. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
Queenstown experienced a visitor boom during July,
leading the country in terms of guest-night increases,
according to Statistics New Zealand.
Statistics' commercial accommodation monitor showed overall
visitor numbers to Queenstown for the month were up 7.1%, or
18,000, on a year earlier.
Hotels and backpackers were the key sectors to benefit,
recording 10.4% and 8.5% respective increases in guest
The same survey showed nationwide guest nights fell 8.9%
for July compared with June, after a lift in May and June.
Queenstown Lakes District Council holiday park manager Greg
Hartshorne told the Otago Daily Times the 2012 winter
has been the worst for business he had seen in more than 20
years, with occupancy down at least 20%.
"It was the worst July I have ever seen and I reckon they're
talking a whole lot of rubbish. It is the quietest I have
seen Queenstown in 20 years." New Zealand Hotel Council
Southern Lakes regional chairwoman Penny Clark said their
sector was up as a direct result of business conferences
being held in Queenstown instead of Christchurch.
"We've had a fairly good winter. We are certainly
stronger than anticipated. It has been a bit erratic, but
considering the weather and lack of snow, we should be
reasonably happy chappies."
Mrs Clark admitted numbers of Australian visitors were well
down this year and the largest group of visitors had been
The chairman of the Queenstown Motel Association, Colin
Chittock, said July numbers were similar to those of July
2011 and August was slightly down, but September was looking
Mr Hartshorne said occupancy at all four of the camping
grounds owned by the council - Queenstown Lakeside, Wanaka
Lakeside, Glendhu Bay Camping Ground and Arrowtown Born Of
Gold Holiday Park - was down by at least 20% from the 2011
winter, including July.
He said the decrease had little to do with Queenstown's snow
season and more to do with a struggling overseas target
Australians were heading to the United States or the islands
for holidays because of the high value of the Australian
dollar, he said.
"I think we have to work a bit harder for what we are getting
and spend the money on marketing wisely."
Mr Hartshorne predicted the slump for his sector would
continue for another five years and then correct itself.
"We're not desperate, but if things continue I can see some
desperation popping up."
Queenstown's hotels and motels had not been affected by the
NZSki chief executive James Coddington said the survey
reflected patronage on Coronet peak and The Remarkables
"July was significantly up on the previous year. We had a
very strong July."
Nationally, the dip in guest nights consisted of an 11% drop
in domestic guests and a 3.8% international guest fall,
particularly in the hotel and motel sectors.
There had been a general decline since 2009, the guest survey