Firms pitch high life to Kiwis

Changing tack   ... Wanaka Unlocked luxury villa management agency has 
Changing tack ... Wanaka Unlocked luxury villa management agency has discounted this property by 20% to attract the domestic market in winter. PHOTO: SIMON DARBY WANAKA PHOTOGRAPHY
Deals and discounts are being offered for the first time on some luxury Wanaka accommodation as tourist operators are advised to do things differently to attract the domestic market.

Tourism Industry Association spokeswoman Ann-Marie Johnson said operators who had focused on international tourists might have to drop their prices or come up with different products for Kiwis.

She said complaints about the high cost of domestic tourism were regularly raised but it came down to people’s spending mindsets.

‘‘You save up your money for a trip of a lifetime and you are prepared to spend what it takes [overseas], but at home you go for a holiday with a different mindset, and perhaps miss out a lot on the experiences that we offer to international tourists because of that.’’

Wanaka Unlocked owner operator Yohann Bourdin manages 12 high-end holiday properties.

Before Covid-19 he would be booked out a year in advance for winter but this year he was offering four nights for the price of three on some villas, and discounts on others, he said.

The Alpine Group general manager David Hiatt said the firm was seeing a huge increase in direct website bookings from New Zealanders for its lodge and helicopter operations, which showed there was ‘‘confidence in the market’’.

Ms Johnson said it was hard to estimate the size of the luxury tourist market because people measured luxury in different ways.

However, she did not believe Kiwis could fill the gap in the luxury market as ‘‘there were just not enough Kiwis to go around’’.


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