Queenstown businesses struggling one year on from border closure

It's exactly 12 months since New Zealand closed its borders to the world - a decision that has prevented COVID-19 from taking hold here.

But it has come at a cost and few communities have paid as dearly as our tourist mecca - Queenstown.

Lou McDowell From Queenstown's Flame Bar and Grill says the area needs some "hope on the horizon."

"Everyone's burning out, yes, I think people are hanging on by their fingernails and we've all run out of puff."

The latest talk of a trans-Tasman bubble - as early as next month is met with an abundance of cautious optimism.

"Look we're delighted that a trans-Tasman bubble looks like it might be coming and that will save a lot of businesses from failure in town but it's not the total answer," Queenstown's Mayor Jim Boult says, "there's still a need for some assistance."

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash visited Queenstown today, to outline the government's ongoing support - irked at the suggestion Queenstown had been forgotten.

"It's not as though over the last 2 to 3 months we haven't provided any assistance at all, we actually have provided a significant amount of assistance."

Yet businesses are still struggling to stay afloat saying the long-term answer remains overseas. 

"We need the borders to open," says McDowell.

"We need the borders to open and we need a time frame."

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult says they need to replace experienced tourism workers who have left town. 

Meaning that when the bubble does open up, tourism operators may struggle to meet demand.

"Well if I get a message that people are complaining about too many international tourists in Queenstown - then I'll take that on board," says Nash

"But I think that's a message that I would rather hear than the ones I'm hearing at the moment."