Mark Wilson: Shout-out to summer toilers

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OPINION: Spare a thought for those who keep the wheels spinning over the festive season.

We all know Queenstown and Central Otago are unique and wonderful places to visit and to reside.

We have filled the region with all manner of activities, attractions and events to augment nature’s good work, and people scramble from all over the world and all over our own backyard to enjoy it, especially over the festive season.

This all-year-round infiltration by tourists, turbocharged by Kiwi summer holidaymakers, means on so many levels we don’t run with the rhythms of other towns around the South.

Cities like Invercargill and Dunedin, where things can slow down a little over the festive season, where more people are leaving town than coming in, where offices are closed and the pace slows as everyone takes their well-earned annual holiday. We are bursting at the seams and it’s all hands on deck for those in the key service and retail industries.

So while many of our neighbours from around Southland and Otago and quite a few of us who don’t service the tourism industry are unwinding over a cold Speight’s and enjoying the likes of Glenorchy Races, UB40 and the Wanaka Rodeo, the rest of you are having your busiest time of the year.

So I want to acknowledge the hard work that goes in to keeping the towns of the Southern Lakes and Central Otago running over this period and offer an appreciative round of applause to those who have made my holiday great.

To all the volunteers at the events, the poor souls ringing up the 24 packs and bags of ice, the bar tenders, ice cream scoopers (Morris in Athol), shopkeepers and everyone else keeping the fuel flowing for a great break, you have been outstanding.

I know we can be impatient and under-appreciative of you as we try to sneak every last bit of relaxing or adventuring into our holiday, and for that I think we owe you an apology to go with the applause.

Thanks for sacrificing your family Christmas, sleep-ins, concerts, beers in the sun and days on the beach.

Working at all in Queenstown can feel strange sometimes. With hordes of visitors enjoying their holidays around us as we work, finding empathy with those who do the hard yards over this busy time of the year shouldn’t be hard for any of us.

Mark Wilson is a Queenstown marketing consultant who enjoys a cold Speight’s or three