Winter Games’ big global goal

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Good things take time even in Queenstown so Winter Games organisers say it may be 2029 before their event achieves global standing.

In a comprehensive report on this year’s event, the Winter Games NZ Trust board’s 20-year goals are highlighted and include:

• international recognition as one of the world’s premier snow sports events, attracting six of the world’s top 10 athletes in each sport

• financial success enabling assistance grants for Kiwis

• international recognition for showcasing the Southern Lakes region

• significant international media exposure to create a ‘must attend’ mindset.

This year’s competitors and team managements were also surveyed – 83 per cent dished out a seven-out-of-10 rating or better.

There were some things to fix next time, however.

“The access to the mountains is seen as a negative and it’s clear we can improve our on-field communication with athletes and management,” the report states.

Suggested improvements from competitors also included:

• hold the event closer to spring and teams will more likely stay on and train

• set times for weather announcements to minimise waiting around

• get athletes more involved in ceremonies

• include snowboard cross again

• have cheaper lift passes for pre-event trainings

• get more spectators by doing deals with coach companies, and combo deals with tourism operators

• enlarge the event’s geographic compass by including Mount Hutt.

Any event worth its salt – and subsidies and sponsorships – needs an economic benefits analysis, which features prominently in the report.

The analysis claims between 1200 and 2000 domestic visitors “came to the Southern Lakes especially for the Games”, with a median stay of seven nights.

International visitors to Queenstown specifically coming for the event is put at 300 to 900 people.

A Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment cost-benefit analysis also shows the Winter Games earlier this year generated “a net national benefit of $7.8 million” on funding of just $1m.