DQ predicts $1billion tourist spend by 2015

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Queenstown’s tourism body hopes visitors will be spending a billion dollars a year in the region by 2015. 

Destination Queenstown boss Tony Everitt revealed the goal in the organisation’s 2012 draft business plan to about 100 people at a quarterly industry update at Millennium Hotel last night. 

Presently visitors splash out about $800 million a year in the resort. 

To achieve the numbers, higher-spending and longer-staying visitors will be targeted, with 80 per cent of DQ’s resources focused on markets in New Zealand and Australia’s east coast, Everitt said. 

The other 20 per cent will be spent plugging Queenstown to the United States, United Kingdom and South East Asia. 

In a presentation via Skype from the Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney, Tourism New Zealand’s tourism operations boss Paul Yeo said the aim for autumn is to entice travellers back to NZ shores. 

Bookings had dropped “dramatically” following Christchurch’s devastating February 22 earthquake “and it’s only just started to trickle back now”, Yeo said. 

With “a lot of people challenged geographically”, it’s important to prove the rest of the country is open and still welcoming visitors. 

To encourage tourism, TNZ is forking out four times the amount of cash to promote the country than they did over the same period last year. 

But Yeo said airlines flying new direct routes from Asia to New Zealand – such as Air Asia X and up-coming China Southern – will boost the economy. 

“This is going to bring a whole new market into New Zealand.” 

NZSki’s marketing campaign for their skifields – running from April to June – is already being aired in Aussie, he added. 

DQ’s trade manager Ben Chapman said local businesses are relying on skifields to pull punters. 

“I guess we are all pinning our hopes on a wonderful ski season.” 

Despite a long list of events planned throughout the year, including TRENZ, the Rugby World Cup, Winter Games and filming of the The Hobbit flicks, Chapman warns: “The next three months are unknown”. 

“If you think about airlines, and about ski fields it’s not all bad…we need to keep our heads up, keep doing what you’re doing and keep going forward.” 

The draft business plan goes before a strategic review board on April 26, and a submission will then made to Queenstown Lakes District Council in May.