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Nearly half of Queenstown accommodation and hospitality business owners responding to a recent survey say they expect to go under in the next three to six months, if Auckland stays in lockdown.
The survey was carried out two weeks ago, before Monday’s announcement Auckland’s lockdown would be extended for at least another fortnight.
Resort accommodation providers are reporting a fresh wave of cancelled bookings after Air New Zealand subsequently cancelled all flights from Auckland until October 19.
Lakes District Accommodation Sector lobby group member Nik Kiddle said he received 58 responses after sending the survey to 146 members and food and beverage businesses.
Of those businesses, 49% said they expected to survive for only three to six months if Auckland stayed in lockdown, while 68% said they did not expect to survive another year.
‘‘That’s astonishing. If we lose 49% of our food and beverage and accommodation outlets in the next three to six months, this town is going to be a real ghost town.’’
Mr Kiddle, who manages the Villa del Lago holiday apartments, said the cancellation of flights from Auckland had not just triggered cancellations by residents of that city, but by all North Islanders who normally used its airport as a transit hub.
Bookings for peak times — including Labour Weekend, next month’s Cyclorama e-bike festival, and the Christmas and New Year period — were ‘‘still on the cards’’.
‘‘But with [director-general of health] Ashley Bloomfield saying he might want to run this lockdown for another eight weeks in Auckland, then if that happens, jeepers, we’re going to lose everything.’’
Resort businesses would be pushed ‘‘over the brink’’ unless they received targeted assistance from the Government, he said.
Highview Apartments general manager Carlyn Topp said a five-night conference booking next week, for the whole complex, was cancelled after Monday’s announcement, and she also lost all the school holiday bookings for the Marina Terrace Apartments in Wanaka.
‘‘If you’re not in Wellington or Christchurch, you can’t get to Queenstown,’’ Ms Topp said.
Queenstown hostel operator Brett Duncan said he had been getting cancellations every time the Government extended the Auckland lockdown.
‘‘I’d say 80% of them are cancelling straight up, and 20% are rescheduling.’’
Mr Duncan, who owned Adventure Queenstown and Adventure Q2 hostels, said although bookings for the New Year period were ‘‘relatively strong’’, the outlook for the next few months was not promising.
‘‘I expect hostels in Queenstown to be very quiet from November through to whenever they open up to Australia — whenever that might be.’’
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ruth Stokes said the picture painted by the survey was ‘‘just sad’’.
Since Monday, hoteliers and moteliers had been reporting ‘‘huge swathes’’ of lost bookings.
She believed Auckland Airport could safely operate as a transit hub under Level 3.
‘‘Enabling people to transit through Auckland obviously opens the rest of the country up, hugely.
‘‘People have had their flights cancelled on Monday for flights this week, and they don’t have alternative options, or if they do they’re really expensive, so they’re cancelling their whole holidays.’’
However, she emphasised it was not Air NZ’s fault, the airline having no choice but to respond to government policy. — Mountain Scene