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Seeing in winter with a bang

July 4 2022 by Mat Woods

Seeing in winter with a bang

As the new Chief Executive (CE) of Destination Queenstown, it is great to see the town bustling and vibrant again with domestic and international visitors enjoying our incredible part of the world. With direct flights from Australia recently starting back up, I am sure I am not alone in relishing the sound of Australian accents on our streets. That, combined with a decent base layer of snow on our ski fields, forward bookings are looking strong, and we are set for a busy three weeks over the school holiday period.

Queenstown has gone through a lot over the last two years and for many, this will be the shot in the arm that their business needs. For others, they may be feeling anxious about how to juggle visitor numbers with workforce challenges.

With that in mind, we all need to be patient as operators work hard to plan ahead, ensure a consistent level of service and set operating hours, and manage their guests’ expectations. Things may take a little longer than they did before, but I am sure you will still enjoy an amazing experience.

I also encourage you to get out and continue to support local. Brave the roadworks and visit a retailer or restaurant; try out an activity you have had on your bucket list for a while; or attend an event like the upcoming Welcome to Winter festivities on 7-10 July.

Welcome to Winter is an opportunity for our local community to come together and celebrate all there is to love about the snowy season. The packed four-day schedule of events has been designed to bring people into the CBD and help support our hospitality and retail businesses. The highlight for me will be watching the fireworks display from the lakefront while I enjoy a glass of hot mulled wine. It is pretty special too that this year the fireworks have been incorporated into a fundraiser for the local fire brigade.

Aside from the next few weeks where we will see increased numbers in town, it is likely to be a long road to recovery for our local tourism industry and wider business community. In my role as CE, I see two streams of work ahead for our region; retaining domestic visitation and building demand for international markets and launching into destination management and beginning our journey to regenerative tourism by 2030. This is to ensure our region is enhanced by tourism and that it benefits our environment, community and culture, as well as our economy. It is going to be a challenge but one I am excited to be a part of.

Mat Woods
Destination Queenstown

- Mat Woods