It was not unrealistic that within 40 years Queenstown
would be an alpine city with a resident population of up to
65,000, attracting up to 7.5 million visitors a year, primarily
from China, former Queenstown Lakes mayor Clive Geddes said
Speaking at a Queenstown Chamber of Commerce business lunch,
part of the 2014 Queenstown Winter Festival, discussing what
tourism in the resort may look like in 40 years, Mr Geddes
said residents and business people needed to understand what
would happen globally to prepare for what lay ahead.
''It's always been the case for Queenstown that it will
understand its own problems and it will solve them and it
will do so successfully and on a basis that's ongoing.
''The population when I arrived here was 4000, tourist season
was from October to May and there was nothing from May to
''We had two-hour lunchtimes in the only cafe, retired to one
of the three pubs - there are now 100 - about 4pm and drove
home at 10.15pm.
''There were about 200,000 tourists, most arrived by bus and
the predominant market was Australians.
''The most exciting thing you could do was the Shotover Jet;
the only rafting trip was run by Contiki Rafts.
''We've moved on from there.''
Progress since then had been largely driven by global events,
which would continue to be the driving force, he said.
Among his predictions were the world population would ''at
least double'' which would bring problems, particularly in
terms of employment.
Mr Geddes also believed China would become ''the dominant
economy ... of the 21st century''.
''Each decade, China lifts 250 million people out of poverty.
It will continue to do that until `poverty' is a historical
word for the Chinese.''
That would increase the number of Chinese visitors globally,
who would become the ''spending force'' of the world.
''A pessimist might say the future of New Zealand is as
China's dairy farm and Chinese holiday parks. You have got to
get your head around it.''
The challenge would be maximising opportunities for Chinese
visitors, without compromising the visitor experience for
others, or the natural environment.
The sold-out luncheon was attended by members of the
Queenstown business community who also heard from Associate
Tourism Minister Todd McClay, Ed Hyde, of Telecom, and Laura
Maxwell-Hansen, of the Radio Network.