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Domestic tourism is proving stronger than many businesses thought, the Governor-General said on a visit to Queenstown.
Dame Patsy Reddy yesterday met Queenstown Resort College adventure tourism students at wind tunnel experience company iFly.
She said it was "essential" for students to visit tourism businesses to hear from staff.
"Particularly for adventure tourism, this is an ideal opportunity to understand just how much goes into making a really professional experience for tourists."
She said it would also provide students with the chance to become "confident and capable guides and instructors themselves".
Dame Patsy said she had tracked progress at the college, visiting the faculty building in the resort previously and its facility in Paihia.
"So it’s nice to see how they are faring during this pandemic."
The students heard from iFly general manager Matt Wong about how the company had dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic, before having the chance to experience the wind tunnel themselves.
Dame Patsy said Covid-19 meant it was a "rough time" for everybody, but suggested businesses had underestimated the "depth of domestic tourism" and said it was "much stronger than some of the businesses had thought".
She said it was the new reality for Queenstown "for a little while anyway".
Students Charity Dallow and Courtney McLean (both 19) were thrilled to meet Dame Patsy.
Ms Dallow said she had asked about their studies and was "pretty cool" to speak to.
The young women were also keen to hear how iFly had adapted and moved to targeting the domestic market.
The Governor-General, who also met Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult, was treated to a display by iFly instructors Allen Sparks and Rangi-Ora McGregor.