DQ seeking 7.5% reduction in funding to diversify

The Government has been advised allowing bed taxes by the Productivity Commission. Photo: Getty...
Photo: ODT files.
Destination Queenstown is seeking $4.311million from the Queenstown Lakes District Council for the 2020-21 year as a rate on the targeted commercial rate.

Interim chief executive Ann Lockhart said that was a reduced amount of about 7.5% on the last financial year, in recognition of the impacts of Covid-19 on the community.

Mrs Lockhart said the pandemic meant DQ had to rewrite its business plan for the financial year, which was circulated to 1200 members for feedback, revised, and then sent to the strategic review board which comprises 30 members representing a cross-section of the community.

Twenty-five replied in full support of the fiunding for the next financial year.

"It will come as no surprise to you that tourism is the topic of the day with our sector being one of, if not the hardest, hit with the advent of Covid-19, not only in Queenstown, of course, but New Zealand-wide.

"However, in Queenstown tourism is the major activity, contributing approximately $2.3 billion to our local economy prior to Covid-19 and, therefore, with lower visitation going into the short-to-medium term at least, it will have ... a significant impact on our economy for some years to come."

The regional tourism organisation had to "repivot", had taken a lead role in the business recovery group and would be part of the "reimagining" of the tourism industry.

"[We are] looking to diversify our visitor market, whether it be through health and wellbeing, medical research, integrated biking and perhaps having Queenstown becoming the home of biking in the southern hemisphere.

"DQ have been overwhelmed with the universal support we’ve received from our members, and the wider community about the relevance and the importance of the work we undertake.

"DQ is the only single entity which provides neutral and unbiased communications around activity for what is, and will remain, the most important sector in our community in the forseeable future," Mrs Lockhart said.



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