Disappointment as marathon postponed

Queenstown accommodation providers have had their hopes of a ‘‘shot in the arm’’ before Christmas dashed after another major event was postponed until next year.

The Queenstown Marathon, which was to take place on November 20 this year, has been shifted to March 19, 2022, and the annual November event will still go ahead, meaning the town will host two marathons next year.

Some accommodation providers described their outlooks for the rest of the year as ‘‘grim’’, but most remained optimistic.

Hotel St Moritz Queenstown general manager Jo Finnigan said they were ‘‘certainly holding a few bookings’’.

‘‘However, we will just move them, as we have all the other bookings involved in [past] postponements.

‘‘The great thing is that it's still happening and it's happening just a few months late.’’

Highview Apartments Queenstown general manager Carlyn Tapp said within the first two hours of the postponement they had ‘‘a couple’’ of cancellations who did not rebook.

‘‘[We’re] expecting quite a few more, which will take a good chunk, obviously, out of November's potential income that we had,’’ she said.

Hurley’s of Queenstown Motel was still fully booked as of yesterday afternoon and manager Toni Eade said they were hoping people would still ‘‘make a weekend out of it’’.

But Mayor Jim Boult expected the period leading up to Christmas to be ‘‘pretty challenging’’ for businesses.

‘‘Businesses are looking for surety, communities looking for surety and the Prime Minister’s comment that ‘Aucklanders will certainly see their family at Christmas time,' I mean, does it mean family in Auckland? Or does it mean family throughout the rest of New Zealand?,’’ he said.

With the marathon, Motatapu and New Zealand Golf Open now all set to go ahead in March, Mr Boult said he would be ‘‘horribly disappointed’’ if those events could not go ahead.

‘‘With luck [March] will be a massive month.

‘‘I guess the only thing I'd be saying is if you're involved with one of those activities, book your hotel bed now.’’

The decision to postpone the marathon came after the Prime Minister’s press conference yesterday, where she laid out the next steps for New Zealand’s Covid-19 response.

Queenstown Marathon race director Keegan McCauley said he was aware the decision would be ‘‘disappointing and frustrating’’.

All registered participants for the 2021 Queenstown Marathon would be contacted by event organisers and entries remained open for the rescheduled event.

cass.marrett@odt.co.nz

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