Resort busy with local tourists, but where are the Aussies?

Queenstown is enjoying a flood of much-needed school holiday visitors this week. PHOTO: GUY...
Queenstown is enjoying a flood of much-needed school holiday visitors this week. PHOTO: GUY WILLIAMS/ODT
The transtasman bubble may be alive and kicking - but it's yet to put any real dent in a struggling tourist economy.

Queenstown is enjoying a flood of much-needed school holiday visitors this week, after a challenging year from Covid-19.

However, Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ruth Stokes said there are still very few Australian accents in the resort town.

"I think the majority of Australians who have returned are either expats or visiting family and friends."

But she said things are looking up - with plenty of ski season bookings coming in from across the ditch.

"We have huge demand for the ski season so we are certainly looking forward to a bumper July and August."

Stokes said up until July, Australian numbers are looking to be a bit of a slow burn.

"After that, certainly, the numbers are looking very promising. Generally, Australians tend to book package holidays rather than organising too much in advance."

But it's not all doom and gloom for tourism in the city after a successful long weekend.

"The long weekend was fantastic. Everywhere was heaving. There were lots of people on the streets, it was a really good vibe.

"People are feeling positive and things are moving in the right direction."

Stokes said the accommodation spend in the city last week was up 5500% on the same time last year.


Ruth Stokes really knows how to use and abuse statistics. Last week last year the country was in a level 4 lockdown so accommodation spending was at an all-time low. Nobody was permitted to travel except for essential purposes.

From such a low base it's not at all surprising that accommodation spending last week was up so high on the year before. Using the same two weeks I can confidently state that tourist numbers were up 10,000,000% on last year.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter