Queenstown could become COVID-19 quarantine town for international students

Queenstown could become a quarantine town for international students if a pitch by council and tertiary providers is adopted.

The resort town has an international airport and empty hotels, which could become the first stop for arriving students.

COVID-19 border restrictions will cost Polytechs, Universities, and private providers $600 million in lost revenue this year.

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult backs the idea. 

"Look we're in favour of it, providing we can be satisfied there's no danger to our community," Boult said. 

New students would be in managed isolation for 14 days, a small price to pay, given many study here for two or three years.

Boult believes the move would help stimulate the economy.

"I suspect that once they've been through their quarantine period, they're probably going to hang around for a while. So tourism businesses, restaurants, bars, you name it, would benefit from a large number of young people being there for a period".

Queenstown residents were open to the idea, depending on who foots the bill.

One local thought students should fund their own arrival, "I think the students should have to pay. And in fact I think anybody coming into the country now should have to pay for their own quarantine".

Another resident was supportive, "If it helps with the economy, then I'd probably be in favour of it".

A third person just wanted the quarantine period to stay in place,"I don't have any fears at all with overseas students coming in, as long as they're quarantined".

The Ministry of Education is in discussions with tertiary providers, with all options in the mix to help restart the international education sector.