Attracting visitors to region more than once key: mayor

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult. Photo: ODT files
Jim Boult.
Finding a way to attract Kiwi visitors to the Queenstown Lakes District more than once should be a No1 priority, Mayor Jim Boult says.

Speaking at a lunchtime gathering of Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce members in Wanaka yesterday, he said his Mayoral Taskforce on Tourism and Short Term Recovery had found it to be the best way to support the district’s tourism industry during the border lockdowns.

"Right now, the town is full and Cardrona and Treble Cone [skifields] are packed out, but at the end of this week school holidays finish and we will go back to a reasonable level for the remainder of the ski season.

"Then it is like a cliff edge — it drops."

"What do we do to fill up the period between then and the end of the year when we see some summer traffic?"

He said the longer-term Regenerative Advisory Group had looked at overseas economic models on shifting away from relying on tourism and "it was really tough".

The luncheon at the Edgewater Resort yesterday was the first opportunity for many Wanaka business owners to see and hear the mayor since before the Covid-19 lockdown.

Forty Ignite members attended, including one member — who did not want to be identified — who said there was "a general feeling in the community that Wanaka was often ignored by the mayor or left out".

Mr Boult blamed the media.

"Every time I am asked by the media to state my name and position, I tell them that I am the mayor of Queenstown Lakes District or Queenstown Lakes and then they turn around and they call me the mayor of Queenstown.

"There is very little that I can do to get them to stop that," he said.

Mr Boult said the important fact was he was mayor of the entire district and he worked hard to make sure he gave all parts of the district his time.

He said he had a list of shovel-ready infrastructure projects for Wanaka and the waterfront was his "biggest priority".

"I am very confident we will get that, and the Cardrona wastewater scheme is high on the list of things to do," he said.

The mayor said he had intended to go to Wanaka in early April but "things got in the way".


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