Queenstown operators hail tourism funding boost


Queenstown tourism players say the resort will reap big benefits from the Government’s $158 million sector injection. 

The new funding package, a pre-Budget announcement coinciding with the country’s annual tourism hui Trenz in Auckland this week, includes spending on emerging and existing markets plus encouraging business events and high-value visitors. 

It comes on top of $85 million a year to fund Tourism New Zealand. 

Prime Minister John Key said one focus of the funding would be conferences and conventions, citing a proposed Queenstown centre as an important plank in the country’s ability to attract such events. 

“This is magnificent and Queenstown as the leading destination in NZ can only but stand to benefit significantly,” long-time Real Journeys director Tony McQuilkin says. 

“It’s fantastic because on a world scale the funding for Tourism NZ over the years has not been great in the internationally-competitive markets.” 

AJ Hackett co-founder and Tourism NZ director Henry van Asch adds: “The industry has been saying for a long time to the Government we need more funds to market and promote NZ.” 

Queenstown would see benefits in several different areas, Van Asch says, including a clear focus on high-yield tourists. 

“It’s going to put money into the special interest groups like ski, particularly, golf, walking and hiking, cycling, and I think TNZ’s looking at a couple of other special interest bits to build up.” 

Special interest promotion is far more relevant than it was 10 years ago, Van Asch says, because it’s easier now to target those groups through people’s use of the internet. 

Promotion of business events would also benefit Queenstown because of the resort’s proposed conference centre, he adds. 

Ziptrek Ecotours director Trent Yeo says: “It’s pretty exciting to see the extent to which the Government is supporting the growth of tourism.

“I think [the new spending] will trickle down to the moving markets, particularly Asia, and the growing FIT [free and independent traveller market] so that’s going to really affect Queenstown as more high-yield visitors come.”