Queenstown expands beyond Winter peaks

A new report by consumer spending specialists, Marketview, has looked at tourism growth in Queenstown beyond its winter peaks, and the results show good news for businesses in the area.

“Our figures show positive spending growth for not only the winter season, but also spreading into typically ‘shoulder’ periods,” says Stephen Bridle, Marketview’s managing director. 

While winter is still experiencing healthy spending growth – up 87.4% in the last five years – Bridle says Queenstown is transitioning from a seasonal town, to a year-round “experiential destination”. Bridle says that the world class hospitality and tourist activities on offer in the area are drawing a diverse range of visitors every year. 

Marketview figures show that the growth is not restricted to the snow industry alone, and spending on tourism activities by core visitor markets has grown 51.6% over the last five winter seasons. Hospitality establishments have also seen positive growth, with bars, cafes and restaurants seeing 129.1% spending growth between winter 2011 and 2016.

The report also looks at how tourists are spending their money, and it shows many are allocating more of their holiday funds to sampling local cuisine, with hospitality’s share of spending increasing almost 4% over the last five seasons. 

Graham Budd, CEO of Destination Queenstown, attributes much of Queenstown’s success to seasonal security from investment by ski field operators in snowmaking facilities and mountain amenities. Budd says that wider regional business investment has also helped spread the economic benefits across more industries. 

“Operators’ yields are up, profitability is better, and they are reinvesting in their product and in new products. As a result we are maintaining and even improving on the quality of Queenstown itself” says Budd. Marketview’s report also highlights how tourism spending growth is spreading beyond the traditional ‘boom’ periods of peak winter and summer. 

This year, October and May – traditionally known as off-peak times – accounted for a combined 14.7% of core international market spending, up 5.8% from the same months four years earlier. Bridle says the trends indicate Queenstown operators are building a sustainable trading pattern outside of the traditional winter season. 

“Queenstown’s willingness to look beyond its natural assets and build year-round appeal is a great example for all parts of the country.”