International skiers set to boost Queenstown and Wanaka accommodation sector - report

  • 14/06/2022
A bach in Queenstown
"This reflects a growing confidence we are going to see a strong winter tourism season." Photo credit: Getty Images

The arrival of thousands of international skiers into Aotearoa is set to boost the accommodation sector over the winter season, according to new data.

Latest figures from Bachcare show forward bookings for winter favourites Queenstown and Wanaka are up significantly over the previous year and pre-COVID levels.

Bachcare, which operates in Aotearoa alongside the likes of Bookabach, Airbnb and Expedia, said bookings across the Southern Lakes region are currently up 67 percent compared to last year and up 114 percent compared to 2019.

Holiday home rental accommodation in the Queenstown and Wanaka region during the July school holiday period is already at 81 percent of capacity, the company said.

Nick Peirce, Bachcare's head of revenue, said international visitors numbers are expected to grow significantly over the coming weeks, with some accommodation impacted by staff shortages throughout the region.

"What we can see from the latest data is traffic on our website from Australia is around 13 times higher than it was at the same time last year. 

"We also know the holiday home rental is less impacted by labour shortages as they don't require staff for reception areas, food and beverage facilities and maintenance.

"Along with significantly increased trans-Tasman booking numbers, this reflects a growing confidence in the market that we are going to see a strong winter tourism season," he said.

However, it's not all good news for domestic accommodation suppliers. Peirce said bookings around Mt Ruapehu were seeing a slower start to the ski season this year.

"Looking at properties around Mt Ruapehu, we can see July bookings are down 38 percent compared to 2021, up 34 percent compared to 2020 and flat compared to 2019. 

"Last year, due to the ongoing border closures, guest commitment happened earlier than in previous years. 

"With the border opening, demand for Ruapehu has reverted to the pre-COVID pattern," he continued

"The difference between the North Island and Southern Lakes is down to Mt Ruapehu being almost entirely a domestic market, whereas Queenstown has direct flights into the area from Australia and therefore has attracted earlier international sales."