OPINION: Time to count our blessings

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Graham Budd is Destination Queenstown’s outgoing chief executive who’s soon to be heading to the mighty metropolis of Invercargill to head up Southland’s economic development agency Great South

OPINION: My initial thought about this piece was that it was an opportunity to vent on a few issues that frustrate me … I had a forum, a medium that people will read, it will cost me nothing – just a bit of time – and there is no right of reply!

Then I realised … this was the exact description of the thing that frustrates me most – opinion pieces that fuel negativity and angriness, oops!

My thinking was prompted by some of the negativity and angriness I’ve observed in the past year or so, mostly from residents who seem determined that there are conspiracies of deception and wrongdoing around every City Hall corner!

I guess this is the case in every community?

I don’t like it much and I prefer positive and constructive sentiment.

Sure, there are challenges, but we’ve actually got a great deal to be positive about.

Queenstown is our home and the short-term home for about three million visitors each year.

Kia ora to you and welcome!

This is an incredible place to live and to visit.

Our great natural beauty inspires us all, and the desire to escape from everyday routines can truly be fulfilled here.

The range and quality of facilities, services, lifestyle amenities and experiences to be had – cafes, bars, restaurants and shopping choices – could not be supported by just our resident population alone.

As locals, we benefit from and enjoy these things and, indeed, they underpin why many of us have chosen to live here. We are also a remote destination, so better accessibility over time through improved air services, alongside enhanced digital connectivity, has also enabled and encouraged this inward migration of new residents.

Queenstown has a long-term symbiotic relationship between cyclical trends in both tourism and resident growth – they feed naturally off each other.

We really can’t have one without the other.

And that’s OK!

So, let’s just take a moment to celebrate, to pause and enjoy our place, to be welcoming hosts, to embrace different cultures and enjoy the energy and vibrancy that our visitors each bring for a few short days.

Reflect on our own holidays in interesting and exotic locations, what joy and memories they bring us, often for years to come.

This is the joy that Queenstown, our place and our people, brings to others.

A very warm welcome if you are a visitor and Merry Christmas to everyone.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.