Queenstown business owners and operators say they are
confident they can meet the demands of the radically changing
visitor market, but it is harder than ever for some to find
These were among the findings of the first in a new series of
six-monthly ''Business Confidence Surveys'' conducted by the
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce.
The results showed a lift in business confidence for the next
six months for both the Wakatipu and national economies.
A total of 58.4% of respondents believed Queenstown's economy
would improve over the next six months, while 38% believed
''more of the same'' was in store.
In addition, 60.6% of the respondents anticipated their
business would improve during the period with 35.8% expecting
it to remain the same.
Another positive indicator for the resort was that 54.5% of
respondents who said their business performance was up for
the Christmas and New Year period compared with the previous
However, 52.8% of respondents said demand for product and
services was the main factor limiting them from expanding
A total of 27.9% of businesses found it harder to find
skilled staff than three months ago;
5.9% found it easier, while 53.7% said they found it the
Up to 14% of business owner-operators said they also found it
harder than it was three months ago to find unskilled staff;
8.8% found it easier, while 49.3% said they find it the same.
The highest areas of concern for the next six months were
visitor numbers, staff costs and exchange rates.
Meanwhile, 40.4% of respondents expected investment by their
businesses to be up, with 45.6% anticipating it to be the
same over the next 12 months.
A total of 58.6% of respondents believed the visitor mix had
changed over the past six to 12 months with the Chinese
market shifting the most.
Some 69.6% of respondents thought their businesses were
prepared for future changes in the visitor market.
Chamber chief executive Ann Lockhart said on Friday ''the
findings are positive, the trend is upwards, which is very
''We had a very strong Christmas and New Year which seems to
be carrying on into February-March.
''The message is consistent with [Destination Queenstown
chief executive] Graham Budd's comments in the Queenstown
Times [on Friday] who said bookings are good and people are
For the first time in three years, members were quizzed in a
chamber survey between January 17 and February 4 and 137