$18 million wedding industry crashes

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By MATTHEW McKEW

CANCELLED and postponed weddings will cost the Queenstown economy millions, a consultant says.

Hundreds of weddings have been cancelled in light of the travel restrictions brought in to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, while others are going ahead with less guests.

Wedding consultant and Queenstown Wedding Association vice-president Sarah Arkin says up to 80 per cent of weddings are for internationals and the industry generates around $18 million a year into the local economy.

“It’s massive. Then you have the follow-on effect — guests are not doing activities, not staying in hotels, not going out to restaurants.

“It’s huge. It’s a big section of the economy that is going to take a hit.’’
Many wedding businesses are small-scale and Arkin fears they may not survive.

‘‘It really depends on how long it lasts. If it goes back to normal in winter, generally winter is quieter, so businesses probably will be able to keep going.”

NZ High Country Queenstown venue manager Samantha Kirk says it’s not just the financial impact, but emotional side.

“It is heartbreaking for the poor couples that have been planning this for a year and have put their heart and soul, and savings, into planning an event that should be a memory of a life-time.”

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz