West Coast businesses enjoying Christmas boom but know it won't last

Businesses on the West Coast are enjoying a busy summer, but know it won't last. 

In fact, some tourism operators are bracing for visitor numbers to drop dramatically, come Monday. 

The streets of Hokitika - the heart of the West Coast - are busy, the beach is full and the town's businesses are enjoying the tourism boost.

"Hokitika is a fantastic place," one person said, while another person told Newshub that "everyone's been flat out, people everywhere, enjoying the sunshine".

Another person said: "It has been really busy, really good." 

There are no vacancies at the local campground and Westland Mayor Bruce Smith said it's been like that since Christmas Eve.

"It's like someone turned the tap on, the town's busy," Smith told Newshub. "The cafes are busy, there are no vacancy signs everywhere. It's been absolutely humming along."

And the area's tourism operators are experiencing the high too. There have been so many people heading to Treetop Adventures that staff have run off their feet.

"We've been really really busy, like busier than we've ever been prior," West Coast Treetops manager Vonnie Cherry told Newshub. 

But Cherry sees the economic hit for what it is, just a hit. And she's expecting it to die down pretty quickly. 

"We're picking it's gonna be a bit slower from Monday when lots of people are going back to work, so it's a big question," she said. "No one really knows how many tourists are going to keep travelling."

Treetops is lucky. It has a cafe and plenty of local support, but like many Cherry fears for other businesses. 

"There are some businesses, I'm not expecting to survive the winter," Cherry said. 

After a tough two years, the region was hoping to see international visitors this year. But now that Omicron's around, that's unlikely and the mayor's expecting it to spell the end for some. 

"There will be a number of operators that simply won't make the grade, you can't hang on forever," Smith said. 

The West Coast is enjoying the visitors while they can because they know exactly what is on the horizon. 

Watch the full story above.