Hotels plead with guests, ration food

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Local hoteliers are urging guests to stay put and not take crazy risks on snow-covered highways. 

Snowbound travellers are overly anxious to drive to their next destination and some are taking undue risks, local New Zealand Hotel Council chair Penny Clark says. 

“I’ve just had some guests leave my hotel to try and drive through the Kawarau Gorge,” Clark says despairingly from Frankton Road’s Goldridge Resort, which she manages. 

The highway between Queenstown and Kingston is officially closed – but Queenstown Lakes District Council’s website says the Kawarau Gorge through to Cromwell has opened. Chains are essential.

During Queenstown’s weather bomb, Clark says, a hotelier’s primary duty is to keep guests safe and sound. 

Another major priority is coping with the lack of food and other supplies, she says – nothing’s getting in. 

Clark: “We’ve just got to eke out our food. I’m telling my staff not to eat bread – we’re baking scones instead.”
Guests are being given books and magazines to read. 

Profit-wise, the snowstorm is “swings and roundabouts” for hotels, Clark says – the extra room nights of delayed guests compensate for no-show guests who can’t get into the resort.

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