Boost of at least $40m from air show

Some of the 70,000 spectators track a USAF F-16 jet through the sky at Warbirds over Wanaka over...
Some of the 70,000 spectators track a USAF F-16 jet through the sky at Warbirds over Wanaka over Easter. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow will have injected more than $40 million into the resort town’s economy, the Wanaka Business Chamber says.

After a six-year hiatus, the airshow drew a record 70,000-strong crowd over Easter with an estimated 25,000 visitors from around New Zealand and overseas.

Wanaka Business Chamber general manager Glenn Peat said the airshow would have had a positive impact on the region’s economy for a short period of time.

He said it was too early to say exactly how much money it generated for Wanaka but he estimated it would have been more than the 2018 show — which was about $40 million.

"It’s been bigger from what we understand than ever, actually, and so therefore you anticipate the economic spend for the region on all aspects would be a bit higher as well."

He said there was a pent-up demand for the traffic the show brought into the region.

However, Mr Peat said a caveat to the financial upturn was the restricted trading hours through Easter on Friday and Sunday.

There were some dips in trading because of those two days, he said.

"What you might find is in the future there might be an exemption put through for Wanaka like there is Queenstown for Easter trading laws which may assist businesses to maximise the impact of increased visitor numbers."

Wanaka accommodation businesses Panorama Court and Adventure Wanaka Hostel said they were fully booked leading up to the event and after as well.

A Red Star Burger Bar employee said they were "flat out" at the restaurant over the weekend.

The shows on Saturday and Sunday drew crowds of about 30,000 people each and last Friday’s practice day attracted a record 10,000 people.

The more than $2 million event, featuring about 80 aircraft, went smoothly.