Queenstown tourism services company 'a Covid victim'

Very sad': Former Whyte Waters director John MacDonald. Photo: Mountain Scene
Very sad': Former Whyte Waters director John MacDonald. Photo: Mountain Scene
A long-time Queenstown tourism marketing and online booking company appears to be a Covid-19 victim.

Whyte Waters Group Ltd, along with associated companies Real Time Booking Systems Ltd and Queenstown Visitor Guide Ltd, were liquidated late last month, following an application by Bank of New Zealand.

The company directors are Queenstowner Grant Aitken and David McAuley, from Dunedin.

Real Time Booking System (RTBS) is an online booking system used by many activity operators.

One of those, Milford Sound kayaking operator Rosco Gaudin, says he’s owed between $5000 and $10,000.

‘‘It’s just bloody annoying — one thing I don’t need on my plate at the moment.

‘‘The liquidator says they’re trying to onsell the business as a going concern, but whether or not anyone’s going to buy it in this environment, I don’t know.’’

Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park boss Peter Coppens, who’s not owed any money, says they’ve used Whyte Waters for both its booking system and in-room promotional material.

‘‘It was kind of an all-encompassing service that was quite good for local operators to use, like us.’’

He notes a lot of activity providers are now only taking direct bookings.

Another booking system user, The Rees Hotel’s Mark Rose, says ‘‘I’m sure [Whyte Waters] is a Covid victim because all of their income would have just stopped, and New Zealanders book directly.’’

Whyte Waters was set up by local councillor John MacDonald in 1995, but he exited the company in 2008.

It originally published visitor guides before starting up RTBS with an American company, he says.

The liquidation, he says, is ‘‘very sad, but it’s unusual times’’.

‘‘You would have said probably they were reasonably diverse, because they were online and they were print, but the whole sector shut down, everything stopped.’’

The first report from Christchurch-based liquidator Rodgers Reidy Ltd is due October 1.

Mountain Scene wasn’t able to contact Aitken for comment.

Comments

I feel for these people, both the businesses that have gone to the wall and the people left being owed money. But... welcome to the free market.
It is possible to insure against these sorts of downturns and such insurance would have been relatively cheap before the pandemic. Clearly these people thought it worth the risk.
The sooner we start treating farmers the same and stop bailing them out every time there is a drought or a flood the better. The agricultural industry, particularly the farmers, have been riding on the taxpayers backs for too long. Capitalizing profits and socializing losses is no longer acceptable in a free market. They, particularly the farmers should be treated just like these tourism operators.

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