Record online bookings, spectacular trans-Tasman airline tickets, a weak New
Zealand dollar and significant market spending in Australia could deliver Queenstown its “best ever” winter ski season.
New Zealand’s biggest ski area operator NZSki Ltd is anticipating a booming ski season based on current forecasts.
At a Queenstown Chamber of Commerce event yesterday, NZSki Ltd CEO James Coddington said a number of positive indications suggested that “the winter of 2009 could be the best ever.”
I’ve recently returned from a 10-day trip to Australia and feel buoyed about what I saw and heard,”
he said. “There’s phenomenal noise about holidaying in New Zealand at the moment due to Tourism New Zealand’s extended advertising campaign.
“Consequently, we’ve seen high pre-season bookings with airlines and a significant increase in bookings with NZSki on the same time last year.”
Coddington added that the weak New Zealand dollar provided another good reason for Aussie skiers and riders to choose New Zealand’s slopes.
“Unlike the Australian ski areas which have increased their prices this season, we’ve worked hard to hold our pricing at the same level as last year,” he said.
Of the 1.1 million Australians that actively ski or snowboard, only 60,000 to 80,000 of them visit New Zealand’s slopes each year. Coddington said he hoped to increase that number to 100,000 this season. The June arrival of Jetstar in Queenstown, a cold forecast for winter by NIWA and unrest in Fiji and Thailand, making them less attractive holiday destinations, also contributed to a large positive outlook.
NZSki Ltd, which owns and operates Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski areas in Queenstown and Mt Hutt in Canterbury, has invested $78 million over the last six years aimed at delivering the best possible product for skiers and riders.
A multi-million dollar investment last year including brand new base facilities and a fully automated snowmaking system has transformed Coronet Peak into a world-class winter destination. Continued investment at The Remarkables and Mt Hutt has improved guest facilities and the quality of surfaces for excellent skiing and riding.
“If there was ever a time to come skiing in New Zealand, this is it,” said Coddington. “Together with our industry partners we’ll be waiting for them with arms wide open.”