Gay Ski Week QT organisers Sally Whitewoods (left) and
Mandy Whitewoods with Little Miss Cinnamon at Saturday
night's opening party at The Find bar in Queenstown. Photo
by Laurindo Sousa.
Queenstown's economy is getting a timely boost as Gay Ski
Week QT brings more than a 1000 high-spenders into the resort.
Organiser Sally Whitewoods said up to 1400 visitors were
loosening their wallets during a packed schedule of skiing,
socialising and specially-themed events during the next few
Mrs Whitewoods, who with civil union partner Mandy Whitewoods
rescued the event from near-financial collapse three years
ago, said more women and visitors from the United States had
turned up this year.
Saturday night's opening party sold out, with more than 300
people cramming into downtown bar The Find.
''That's having a knock-on effect, and people are now
realising they need to get in quick to buy tickets.''
The majority of gay visitors were in the ''double-income,
no-kids'' category, and tended to spend up large.
''Like anyone who goes on holiday, if they're like me, they
spend far more money than they should.''
That meant the resort's hospitality, accommodation and
tourist activity providers should get a boost during a
''normally quiet'' time of year.
The increase in United States visitors was a result of her
marketing the event at the San Francisco Pride festival in
June, as well as in two US-based magazines. However,
Australians still dominated the 85% mix of international
visitors, she said.
To cater for a growing number of women visitors, a
female-only event featuring Queenstown singer-songwriter Tori
Reed was held at the Blue Kanu restaurant last night.
In a first for Gay Ski Week, she had booked the Queenstown
Memorial Hall for this Saturday night to stage what she hoped
would be the biggest dance party in the resort's history.
The week's other activities include daily skiing at Cardrona
Alpine Resort followed by live music, cabaret and karaoke
events in the evenings.
Non-skiers can try other adventure activities such as snow
shoeing on the Turnbull Range, and racing karts at the
Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.