'Another massive blow': Resort’s bubble bursts

The Government’s decision to suspend the transtasman bubble for eight weeks has been labelled "massively disappointing" by Queenstown’s mayor.

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia has been suspended for at least the next two months, as Australia battles to control the rampant Delta variant of the virus, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said materially changed the risk profile for the bubble.

The earliest the bubble would reopen would be about September 18 — the day the Australian September school holidays are due to begin.

There will be flights home from all Australian territories for the next seven days.

Jim Boult. Photo: ODT files
Jim Boult. Photo: ODT files
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult told the Otago Daily Times the pause to the bubble was not unexpected, but questioned why the Government did not start with a four-week pause and then undertake a review.

The only potential silver lining was the bubble reopening in time for Australian families to have their September school holidays in Queenstown. However, "it would take a leap of faith on their behalf" to book anything until there was some certainty, he said.

Yesterday’s news was "massively disappointing".

"It is just another massive blow for the tourism industry in our part of the world.

"We had been holding out for this Aussie bubble, for the business the Aussie bubble would bring us, since it was announced on April 6, and we have had the rug pulled out from under our feet."

However, Mr Boult said the district was "immensely grateful" to the New Zealanders who had come in their droves to support the area during the July school holidays, helping some businesses to "record turnover".

That said, yesterday’s news would again jeopardise some businesses and future employment for staff.

"There’ll be a lot of people worried about their income again, a lot of people worried about their jobs.

"All I can say is that, as a district, we’ve pulled together in the past and ridden through this and for eight more weeks we’re going to have to do the same.

"The sun will come up."

Cardrona Alpine Resort general manager Bridget Legnavsky said there would likely be "a lot of relief" around the bubble pause.

"People are nervous.

"Obviously, it’s far from ideal ... but what would have been a lot worse for us is if we had an outbreak in this region and it closed us down.

"That would have brought a lot of businesses to their knees.

"There’s just too much risk."

Ms Legnavsky said yesterday’s news was not a shock.

"We kind of saw it coming — we’re pretty realistic now ... the penny drops pretty early on [and] we could see it unfolding and going downhill."

In Australia yesterday, New Zealanders started scrambling to get home.

Air New Zealand announced five flights from Sydney to Auckland between July 28 and August 7 after the bubble was paused.

All five flights sold out in a matter of minutes after being made available yesterday morning, Air New Zealand said.

A Queenstown man, who did not want to be named, said within seconds of Ms Ardern announcing the flights to bring people home, his tech-savvy daughter began trying to book a flight.

A message came back "sorry taken" for two of the flights, but his daughter was lucky to secure two tickets on the last flight on August 7.

Five minutes later she went back online and found all the flights were sold out, he said. — Additional reporting The New Zealand Herald

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

Comments

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Maybe rather than whinge about the inevitable, these folk could think of new ventures Queenstown and Lakes District could sustain.
It's like the recent tractor blockade protest - people complaining about change rather than getting off their backsides and adapting. Sick of hearing the bleating.
Nature bats last.

New Zealand is bigger than Queenstown. Boult would do better complaining, once again, about Aurora power line problem yesterday and the chaos that caused. One company allowed to do so much damage to so many people and businesses. These things may happen for a variety of reasons but they happen way too often with Aurora.

So Jim Boult is "disappointed". How disappointed would he be if Queenstown ended up in the mess like Aussie is in at the mo??
Queenstown's new tourist slogan
WE DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE INFECTIOUS - COME SPEND YOUR MONEY HERE
or
WE'D LOVE YOU TO SPREAD YOUR LOVE HERE

Totally agree with Tangent. Queenstown relies too heavily on tourist trade Most businesses have all their eggs in one basket and cannot cope when said eggs get broken. You have to be wealthy to live in Queenstown and this wealth comes from the exorbitant prices people charge to tourists. You don't hear whinging coming from Wanaka or Rotorua businesses. Covid and its variants will be around for a long time and if and when we manage to conquer it, there will be something else in the wings waiting to take its place. Queenstown businesses need to get off their thrones and plan new ways of surviving.

Talk about tunnel vision. Boult and his ilk have a single focus, get foreigners in here because they pay the exorbitant prices we charge.
If every accommodation and "entertainment" provider in Queenstown dropped their prices by 33% they would be inundated with kiwi tourists. they would be fully booked and making money.
It really is that simple.

Further catalyst for the NZ housing market crash.......those money printers are heating up and increased inflation and interest rates are just ready to slap you around the corner... If you are a household, new home owner or young family whose in debt up to your eyeballs, I'd be scrambling to get the best mortgage default insurance $ can buy....

Oh Jim, do you only ever care about $$$$'s?

If Mr Boult represents the views of the majority of businesses in the Queenstown district then it shows how out of touch they are with the real world. NZ is in an enviable position viewed from the outside where believe it or not, there is a rampant pandemic wrecking havoc across the globe.
Queenstown suffering from the Big fish in a small bowl virus...

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