DQ’s moving mountains

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Destination Queens­town’s marketing boss sees increased benefits from the resort’s membership of an international marketing collective. 

Graham Budd recently returned from the Leading Mountain Resorts of the World’s annual general meeting in the Swiss village of Saas-Fee. 

Queenstown was an original member of the global partnership of dual winter/summer resorts when it was set up almost 10 years ago. 

The other members are Saas-Fee, Are in Sweden, Val Gardena in Italy and Banff/Lake Louise in Canada. 

However, activity in the past two to three years has been pretty minimal, Budd says. 

In part that arose after founding members, Vail, in the United States, and South America’s Bariloche pulled out. 

“We got to the point in DQ where we determined that we really wanted either to re-energise it or determine that it didn’t have potential,” Budd says. 

The AGM left him in no doubt that Leading Mountain Resorts of the World has an excellent future. 

“There was a complete and unanimous commitment to the principles and the reasons why we’re all in this collective, and a significant commitment to making it work and grow its benefits for all of us individually and collectively.” 

Budd says one benefit is simply brand association – “by being associated with other leading mountain resorts”. 

Another is getting Queenstown’s brand out to other members’ networks and visitors. 

“Many of the visitors to these destinations are people we would love to have here in terms of their spending ability. 

“I see some terrific potential to use this network to get our message out.” 

Already, ski season pass holders in member resorts enjoy discounted skiing/boarding in every other resort. 

Budd says members also discussed opportunities for their operators to undertake study tours of other resorts when they host an AGM. 

Queenstown will host the 2014 AGM. 

“There are a great deal more similarities on many levels and in many ways between the resorts than there are differences.” 

Saas-Fee, Budd notes, offers the same kind of experience, hospitality, enthusiasm, passion and all those things you could apply to Queenstown. 

Budd says the network hopes to add resorts from America and Japan. 

DQ’s annual membership fee to be involved with the marketing alliance is about $5000. 

Its executive officer is Sydney-based ex-Queenstowner Kirsten Nicholl.