Have we learnt nothing?

July 12 2021 by David Gibbs, General Manager Queenstown Media Grou

Twelve months seems a lifetime ago, so much water has travelled under the Kawarau Falls Bridge. This time last year we were just starting to experience our first domestic only ski season in very uncertain times. Mountain operators were concerned whether they would be able to open at all and we were riling at the stupidity of the idea of having an MIQ facility In Queenstown, with our lack of health services, which fortunately went nowhere. We were also confidently considering the opportunity that an economy less reliant on tourism might deliver, all great and worthy topics.

Roll on twelve months and despite the Aussie Bubble bursting, Queenstown in general is feeling pretty pleased that we are through the worst of Covid (hopefully).  

There is some really great work going on in bringing new industry sectors to Queenstown, last month’s announcement of a $45 million tech hub is one and last week’s report from the Regenerative Recovery Advisory Group, another. QLDC has grabbed multiple millions of dollars from Government to get the infrastructure ready for the future so we have a town that stands proud and actually lives up to its global image and yes, can cope with growth. Downtown will look incredible and in five years we won’t recognise it with traffic diverted out of town, new retail, galleries and transport interchanges. We are staring at an exciting future.

So why is the conversation muted on these really positive stories of rejuvenation and growth and gravitating back to the same old issues we’ve been talking about for decades? Bemoaning the traffic and parking and those bloody cones. Remember last year, it was frighteningly quiet along Frankton Road and while getting a park did improve markedly, a lot of stores and restaurants, mostly owner operator stores by the way, were closing their doors permanently.
What ever happened to our bright new post covid positivity?

Yes, it’s a pain currently, but if we learnt anything last year it was lets stick together and focus on getting through this because our economy, our infrastructure and even our tourism sector is going to be in such better shape as a result. We are currently about to have one of the best school holiday seasons on record and the snow arrived right on cue for the feel good holiday factor that will make the cash registers ring. Many businesses are booming and not just the big end of town, we’ve learnt to do more with less and its working.

We should be dancing in the streets and embracing the future that’s on the horizon, and not stuck in the past crying about the roadworks and the parking. Onwards and upwards Queenstown.

- David Gibbs, General Manager Queenstown Media Grou