Boat operators hope for Australian visitors, come summer

 

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In a normal winter, skiers take boat trips on Lake Wanaka as a break from the slopes.

Brent Pihama
Brent Pihama
Boat operators spoken to yesterday held no great hopes for winter this year.

Brent Pihama, of Wanaka River Jets, predicted business was likely to be back to levels of 30 years ago.

"It is the hand that has been dealt us

... We’ve got to deal with it.

"We’ve got to get through to the other end.

"That’s going to be hard and it’s going to be long."

After six weeks of tight restrictions, Wanaka tourist boat operators were working on their craft...
After six weeks of tight restrictions, Wanaka tourist boat operators were working on their craft yesterday and predicting a hard winter ahead. PHOTOS: MARK PRICE
Mr Pihama said he would be taking a winter holiday to "let the dust settle" but was buoyed by a trickle of bookings for spring and summer and the prospect of Australians being able to travel to New Zealand at some point.

"There will be a light at the end of the tunnel."

Lakeland Adventures operations manager Michael Donald said his business was being "de-scaled" for the winter.

He, too, was holding out hope that there would be Australian visitors as soon as possible.

"For a lot of businesses around here, the majority of traffic does come from Australia. For us it is normally 80% of our traffic is Kiwis and Australians.

"So, it would make a huge difference."

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