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.