No business like snow business


Winter Festival attracts about 60,000 people – a third being locals who love Queens­town, love winter and can’t wait to celebrate its arrival. 

The event has always been about offering something to suit an entire community. 

Festival appeals to a broad range of visitors because it is not only about a snow experience with mountain-based events, but also offers the alternative of a spa, wine or food experience, and much, much more… 

Total spent by visitors in Queenstown at Festival 2009 

The average spend in the district per visitor during this period was estimated at $1239. 

Accommodation was the most significant cost, averaging $429 per person. 

The next highest expense related to snow activities ($211pp) followed by restaurants and cafes ($148pp), activities ($138pp), shopping ($101pp), groceries ($100pp) and transport ($80pp). 

Furthermore, a 2006 economic impact survey of the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival – conducted by the New Zealand Tourism Research Council – estimated the total visitor spend during (but not necessarily as a result of) the event was $44m, and this generated a further $29m in local (first round) spending – a total economic impact of $73m.  

Using the same data, the 2009 festival could be said to have pulled in $53m, with first-round spending
generating another $35m – a total of $88m and an increase of 20 per cent over four years. 

Although these are rough estimates, they give some idea of the business likely to be derived from Queenstown’s biggest party. 

There’s also an unquantified longer-term benefit associated with the massive publicity that’ll attract visitors to Queenstown throughout the year – reaching just over 19 million people. 

We spend just under $1m on goods and services directly associated with arrangements for the festival and most of this goes directly to suppliers and service providers locally.  

Who attends? 

The majority of festival attendees last year, 63 per cent, were in the 20-35 year age group and 31 per cent were predominantly in the 36-50 age band. International visitors peaked in the 18-25 category and they also exceeded domestic visitors in the 40-50 age group.

Some 56 per cent of all visitors were in full-time employment, with a strong mix of social groups, corporate and conference groups, families, and media professionals. 

They comprised South Islanders, North Islanders, Australians and Europeans – with 58 per cent of
international visitors coming from Australia. 

Domestic attendees were split 58 per cent from the South Island and 42 per cent from the North Island. 


Of the 62 events on the festival calendar this year, 14 are ticketed – the remainder are free for the community to enjoy. 

Some 92 per cent of the community are in some way involved in the event. 


Winterfest couldn’t run without the support of the 100 or so volunteers. Winterfest is still looking to add to our army of helpers for 2010 so if you want to be a part of the team, register online or call Winterfest and ask to speak with Caroline.

In addition, we are looking for volunteers to assist our charity, the Bruce Grant Youth Trust. 

The trust is in need of kind souls to assist with jangling the bucket at public events and behind-the-scenes activities. 

Queenstown Lions 

Festival has a long-standing association with the Lions Club of Queenstown and is proud to have them as part of our team. 

In the past four years alone, the Lions’ fundraising efforts at two of our biggest community events, the Opening Party and the Mardi Gras, has meant they have been able to donate close to $75,000 to various local causes. 

Look out for their mulled wine at these two key events, and while you are sipping be assured that your dollars are going to a great cause.