The Queenstown Lakes District Council is ''ringing alarm
bells'' after hearing revenue from council-owned holiday
parks is well behind that of previous years.
In yesterday's finance and corporate committee meeting,
councillor John Mann expressed his concern about the holiday
park figures for Queenstown, Arrowtown, Wanaka and Glendhu
Revenue for the first quarter of 2012-13 is down about 7.2%
across all parks' incomes.
The worst is Queenstown, which is down 15% in revenue and 17%
on budget compared with last year. In his report, holiday
parks manager Greg Hartshorne put the poor performance for
the year down to a bad ski season, a change in the market and
deals being run by the hotel sector.
''The ski season by all accounts has turned out to be only an
average one and, with the huge discounting going on across
the market, there appeared to be a lot more people flying and
taking advantage of these rates."
This resulted in a large drop in the number of campervans
visiting during winter and a higher occupancy rate in the
hotel and motel sector.
Although the summer months saved the council's holiday parks
last year, it is not clear if there will be a repeat.
Mr Hartshorne said the outlook for the next few months was
''confusing'' and mixed, with bookings strong in some weeks
and very low in others.
While the Queenstown holiday park had the biggest drop,
Arrowtown was down 5% and Wanaka down 11% in revenue. Cr Mann
had concerns over how the council could rectify this and make
up the total costs.
''We are building up a big bell curve here ... I don't think
there is a show ... of making this up.
''That's too much to make up. What initiatives are we looking
at to cut out the operational costs, because we're not going
to get the numbers.
''I'm ringing bells at the moment that I'm quite concerned."
Mr. Hartshorne's report said the area had lost a lot of its
traditional visitors, particularly from Europe.