Real deal for Winter Festival

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A major resort tourism company’s signed a six-figure deal to become the main sponsor of Queenstown Winter Festival.

Real Journeys is the first Queenstown-based naming sponsor in the celebration’s 43-year history.

The company, which owns and operates the iconic steamship TSS Earnslaw, has made a splash in the tourism scene in recent years – buying Cardrona skifield.

Now, it hopes to lift its brand again by helping to breathe new life into the annual celebration.

Winter Festival was cut back from 10 days to four this year after its previous naming sponsor, American Express, dropped out.

Real Journeys boss Richard Lauder says: “Through this association, we expect Real Journeys, along with our Cardrona Alpine Resort and Go Orange businesses, will become more widely recognised, both domestically and internationally.

“We are also very proud to be the first local company to step up and get behind the Winter Festival at this level.”

The ‘Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival’ will remain at four days next year, running from June 21 to 24.

It also has a new director – Rae Baker, who started work on Monday, has replaced Lisa Buckingham.

Graham Budd, boss of regional tourism organisation Destination Queenstown, says: “We are very excited to announce this partnership with Real Journeys, who have a deep connection with Queenstown and the wider Southern region.

“This commitment also demonstrates their recognition of the value of the annual Queenstown Winter Festival to both our local community as well as our visitors.”

The festival is DQ’s largest winter marketing investment and Budd says the partnership puts the festival in a “great position” for the years ahead.

The company sponsored the Friday night party and fireworks at this year’s event.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz