Tourism figures say the industry should concentrate on
mitigating risk and creating opportunities in the current
Speaking at a resource management law conference in
Queenstown on Friday, NZSki chief executive James Coddington,
Ngai Tahu Tourism regional manager David Kennedy, Lake Wanaka
Tourism general manager James Helmore and Challenge Wanaka
race director Victoria Murray-Orr all had one message in
common - make your own luck.
Mr Coddington told an audience of more than 200 involved in
the Queenstown tourism scene that he would not encourage a
person adverse to risk to become involved in tourism,
particularly in the ski industry.
"We get to be very good at risk in our business. I'm not
saying it is something we necessarily enjoy, but something we
practise on a regular basis."
He used the example of an avalanche scare at the Remarkables
on Thursday afternoon and said the ski industry's biggest
risk factor was the weather.
The importance of the man-made snow was highlighted
throughout Mr Coddington's talk and he said without it, the
2012 season would have had a maximum of just a two-week
In 1988 the ski field was closed after only three weeks. This
year could have been a more dire situation for the company,
he said, and he had only the snowmaking machines to thank.
This year was only mildly better in numbers for NZSki than
2011, he said, even after the dramatic interruptions last
year of the Christchurch earthquake, Queensland floods,
Chilean ash cloud and a warm May and June for Queenstown.
"It was New Zealand's earthquake, not just Christchurch, and
the ripple effect for tourism was massive," he said.
"Weather is our greatest risk in the ski industry."
Mr Coddington said part of mitigating the risk of the weather
was the introduction of $60 million worth of snow-making
equipment at Mt Hutt, the Remarkables and Coronet Peak.
The difference in the duration of the ski season was 60 days
since the snow guns were introduced in 2008.
"What do we think that has done for our community?"
The ski industry delivered $380 million to New Zealand's
economy per year and 100,000 Australian visitors per winter
"Many businesses rely on winter to survive. For many it is
bigger than summer here."
Mr Kennedy echoed to the region's tourism leaders they needed
to use their own initiatives to keep the industry exciting in
He said since 1970, when the Shotover Jet first opened, the
jet-boating company had had regulations, bylaws and barriers
slapped on it, but had adapted accordingly, to become one of
New Zealand's most "iconic" jet-boat rides.