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Bookings are starting to come through for tourism operators in Queenstown Lakes.
There are almost 30 flights due to land in Queenstown for Queen’s Birthday — good news for businesses on both sides of the hill.
Lake Wanaka Tourism Manager James Helmore said there were already domestic tourists visiting the area.
Destination Queenstown chairman Richard Thomas said things were looking positive.
He stressed the resort was ‘‘open’’.
‘‘Kiwis have Queenstown to themselves, it is a world-class destination, but it is 100% exclusively there for Kiwis to visit now.’’
It would also target the Australian market once border restrictions were lifted.
Many operators were offering great value deals, Mr Thomas said.
Although life had returned to ‘‘more of a slightly new normal’’ there were still a lot of unknowns to factor into the organisation’s decision-making, he said.
As the frequency and capacity of flights into Queenstown were starting to increase and there were extra flights coming from Auckland and Christchurch for the three-day weekend, a lot of businesses were back up and operating.
Queenstown Airport Corporation general manager corporate and community affairs Sara Irvine said there were 20 arrivals and departures yesterday, 16 scheduled for today and tomorrow, and 22 for Monday.
This was in stark contrast to the same weekend last year, when there were 44 departures and arrivals on both Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, while on Sunday, June 2 there were 28 and on Monday, June 3 there were 44.
Ms Irvine said although it was ‘‘really positive’’ flights had resumed, there were fewer passengers due to physical distancing requirements and the aircraft were a mix of sizes.
Mr Helmore also confirmed bookings had started to return to major accommodation and activity providers and there had been a ‘‘a lift’’ in website traffic to the Lake Wanaka Tourism site and Wanaka businesses. ‘‘You can expect anything starting from zero again to take a bit of time to get going.
‘‘There have been visitors from New Zealand travelling around the Wanaka region, also international visitors who remained in New Zealand for the lockdown starting to travel around the country and that includes here.’’