Destination Queenstown’s Aussie movie coup

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A greater influx of young Aussie travellers to Queenstown is expected this winter with the launch of comedy flick Any Questions for Ben? 

Queenstown has a 10-minute cameo in the movie which hits cinemas today – and skiing, bungy jumping and other adventure activities prominently feature. 

Popular Australian actors Josh Lawson and Rachel Taylor star in the tale of Ben (Lawson) – a guy who has everything – searching for the meaning of life. 

On his quest to resolve emotional turmoil in Melbourne, he travels to Queenstown. 

Destination Queenstown boss Tony Everitt says the tourism marketing organisation fought hard to get the movie’s lens on the Wakatipu. It was shot under secrecy 20 months ago by Working Dog Productions – the film company behind classics The Castle and The Dish. 

“We had competition,” Everitt says, refusing to reveal the other destinations in the mix. 

“That did cost us some dollars [to win the bid] but the return on investment on these kinds of projects is huge. I probably can’t talk figures but when Queenstown people get a chance to see the movie, it’s very exciting stuff and portrays us in a very positive light.” 

It’s hard to quantify the exact economic benefit and visitor numbers at this stage, but it’s looking promising, Everitt adds. 

“Given that our air capacity from Australia – and Melbourne in particular – is increasing, and with winter not too far away, it’s just perfect timing to hit all of those hot buttons for us.” 

DQ’s involvement in securing Any Questions for Ben? is similar to the Bollywood hit I Hate Luv Storys, in which Queenstown cameos during the Mumbai-based flick. 

Since screening in 2010, the resort’s noticed a boost in Indian visitor numbers, Everitt says. 

“Indian visitor numbers to Queenstown are doing very well, even though Indian visitors to New Zealand haven’t changed significantly. The report from our members is that we’re doing very nicely out of it.”