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Thread: Queenstowns over expansion!

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    Default Queenstowns over expansion!

    ? 01-Mar-2008 ? Top stories ? Boom days of Queenstown tourism over
    Boom days of Queenstown tourism over
    By CHRIS MORRIS Saturday, 1st March 2008

    David Kennedy

    THE golden days of Lord of the Rings-fuelled tourism in Queenstown are over.

    Key global tourism markets are declining and an oversupply of beds in the resort looms, Destination Queenstown is a warning.

    The number of visitors coming from major markets in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea were all down last year, with only the Australian market providing a shining light for the resort, DQ chief executive David Kennedy said.

    He painted the gloomy picture yesterday during his organisation?s biennial presentation to the Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting.

    ??The halcyon days of doubledigit growth are definitely well behind us,?? he told councillors. ??The days of Lord of the Rings are over.

    ??It?s called reality, I suppose.??

    Latest figures showed the number of guest nights in Queenstown considered the best snapshot of the resort?s tourism was up last year, but only by 2.8%. That compared with a 6% growth in international arrivals globally, while New Zealand?s international arrivals grew by just 1.8% last year.

    The figures raised fresh concerns about the projected 4000 new commercial beds expected to come on stream in Queenstown over the next five years, Mr Kennedy said.

    The new beds would boost the resort?s existing base of 13,500 beds by up to 30%, meaning growth in visitor numbers would need to be maintained at 7% or 8% annually in order to sustain current occupancy rates, he said.

    ??The biggest two challenges facing Queenstown are an increasing commercial bed base and an international tourism outlook that is far from bullish, and increasingly competitive,?? he said in his report to council.

    Projections were for the global economic environment to have a dampening effect on world tourism, particularly hurting long-haul destinations like New Zealand, he said.

    ??These two issues could potentially compound to the stage where there could be little or no growth from Queenstown?s major long-haul markets for the next two years.??

    Tourist operators spoken to by the Otago Daily Times in Queenstown agreed a decline had been noticed.

    Nomad Safaris which runs two Lord of the Rings location tours and sells movie paraphernalia shop manager Emma McGoldrick said visitor numbers were clearly down, although the business remained busy.

    Mr Kennedy said Queenstown still benefited from attracting more segments of the tourism market than other destinations, including coach tours and backpackers, lifting it above the rest of New Zealand.

    However, the days of 12%-14% growth in visitor numbers to Queenstown were simply not there anymore, he said.

    Different factors, including exchange rates, fuel surcharges, the opening of new destinations in Europe and Asia, and lowcost airlines, were all hurting Queenstown, he believed.

    DQ also faced increased competition within its two largest markets the domestic market and Australia from other, better-funded regional tourism organisations and from Tourism New Zealand itself pushing the national brand, he warned.

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