Bumper season easing

Queenstown Mall was alive with activity yesterday. Photo by Christina McDonald.
Queenstown Mall was alive with activity yesterday. Photo by Christina McDonald.
A bumper Christmas and New Year period for accommodation providers in Queenstown has given way to a slower pace, but the upcoming Chinese New Year, major sporting events and concerts are expected to turn that around in February.

New Zealand Hotel Council Southern Lakes regional chairwoman Penny Clark said the immediate holiday season had been a ''particularly good'' one for hoteliers but it was now ''softening up''.

''We did better than last year certainly, from a hoteliers' point of view, [and] the first two weeks of January have been very positive as well.

''I'm just nervous that things have slowed up quicker than anticipated.''

Ms Clark reasoned this was because the Chinese New Year fell in February this year, whereas last year it was in January.

Asian holiday-makers would therefore be arriving in February.

''So that's going to impact on the figures for the month of January.''

''February we are all anticipating [will be] a good month because there's so much happening.''

Ms Clark said hoteliers had noted an increase in Australian visitors, which was put down to our neighbours realising Queenstown was also a summer destination - ''and they are probably so hot over there''.

Queenstown Motel Association chairman Al Luke said business had been on par with the previous holiday season.

Mr Luke said about January 10 the domestic market went back to work but the pace of tourism ''just rolls on''.

He had noted more Chinese visitors and a continuing absence of Europeans.

''Twenty-eight percent of the market was British five years ago and if a Brit walks into my office now it's unusual.''

Frankton Motor Camp owner and manager Graeme O'Rourke told the Otago Daily Times last week the campground had been ''chocker'' because of the Queenstown Recreation Ground being closed to campers during the holiday period.

Queenstown Lakes District Council holiday park general manager Greg Hartshorne was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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