Visitor records have been broken in Queenstown with the convergence of Australian and New Zealand school holidays bringing large numbers of skiers and snowboarders to the resort.
From flight numbers, bus transport numbers and happy retailers, it appears winter records are being smashed this winter season.
NZSki chief executive officer James Coddington yesterday confirmed more than 2200 passengers used the free bus service to The Remarkables ski area on Friday and Saturday, signalling the company’s multimillion-dollar transport investment was paying off after only two years.
The company invested in nine buses in 2008 to make the Coronet Peak and Remarkables fields more streamlined and profitable.
The transport service started last year.
“Because the transport is free we have to underwrite the cost, and we’re comfortable to do that because it’s an enabler of getting people up our mountains.”
The annual convergence of both school holidays in New Zealand and Australia has had an impact on the record numbers of people heading to the mountains but also on the cash registers of Queenstown businesses.
Macpac store manager Clare Atkinson yesterday said the outdoor goods store which opened this year in Queenstown had just experienced its busiest week of winter.
“We’re a lot busier than we were during Winter Fest week, which was a bit of a surprise, and have sold lots of warm gear to loads of freezing Aussies,” Ms Atkinson said.
Remarkable Sweet Shop store supervisor Nina Senadhira also said she had had a record-breaking two weeks and had broken previous daily sales records three times.
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chairman Alistair Porter yesterday said the volumes of travelers coming through the Queenstown Airport had been helped by solid marketing campaigns by Destination Queenstown, NZSki and Queenstown Airport Corporation.
“The marketing strategies have really paid off for Queenstown retailers and accommodation providers and that can be witnessed by the sheer numbers of people around town and on the slopes,” he said.
Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive Steve Sanderson yesterday said the airport also had its own freshly emerging record-breaking figures to reveal.
“Next weekend we will break the record for the amount of scheduled flights leaving Queenstown Airport, and new figures from the end of June show that we recorded our largest amount of passengers in the past financial year, which is great news for the airport, and the Queenstown region,” he said.
Forty-six outbound flights were scheduled to leave the airport next Saturday, beating the previous high of 43 recorded on Saturday, Mr Sanderson said.
For the 2009-10 financial year more than 812,000 passengers used Queenstown Airport, Mr Sanderson said.
The previous high was recorded in June 2008, when 734,000 passengers used the airport.
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