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New Zealand

Tourism operators report big boost from winter school holidays

Young skier enjoying the snow on Hutt Mountain during school holidays
photograph: Courtesy / NZSki – Mount Hutt – Nicole Hawk

Tourist operators say winter school holidays are a very welcome boon for many in a traditionally quiet season.

It was a warmer holiday than the ski resorts had after, but businesses said they encouraged more people to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

On Waiheke Island, EcoZip Adventures’ Gavin Oliver said a large number of domestic tourists were out during the school holidays.

“We normally expect the winter school holidays to bring some mid-winter momentum. Normally these two weeks are two very strong weeks for us, but what we are seeing is that. It’s an even higher rise.

“I think the combined number of domestic visitors and the number of World Cup visitors has reached about 260% of what it was before.”

NZSki CEO Paul Anderson said the past week has been very busy.

“Both Queenstown and Methven ski resorts are crowded because Australian school holidays overlap with New Zealand school holidays that week.”

The snowfall has started late this season, and that’s why we’ve been investing in snow machines, Anderson said.

“Coronet Peak and Mount Hutt each had only 30 to 40 centimeters of snow, so we had to rely heavily on artificial snow.

“But we have a great system in place, and even if you have a small amount, you’re skiing top to bottom.”

It’s been a good few weeks for the Hobbiton movie set in Matamata too – general manager Shane Forrest was delighted.

“Australians are back to travel across the ditch enjoying our little Aotearoa and New Zealanders are traveling again to the domestic market, school holidays and a little bit of good weather we managed. It’s been a good boost for me to get. “

In Otoutahi, Willowbank Wildlife Sanctuary Director Mark Willis said the tourism industry is recovering.

“We are very excited as we are getting back to business as usual and countries like China are starting to re-enter.”

Further south, however, it was a different story. Ewan Kirk, who runs the Naseby Indoor Curling Rink in Central Otago, didn’t get the full school holiday he was hoping for.

“This year has certainly been quieter than we would have liked. To be fair, it’s almost half what we normally expect.”

During the winter school holidays, there are usually more than 60 people a day, but the number has dropped to 20 to 30.

Matariki’s long weekend was an exception, when the rink was nearly full, with 80 to 90 people signing up to hit the ice each day.

He thought the warm climate and cost of living were likely the culprits.

“People may just be staying home and having extra money in their pockets because it looks a little tough financially for most people. It also just put a few bucks away. I think it might.”

The tourism industry remained hopeful that the Women’s Soccer World Cup might keep attracting tourists in the near future.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/493839/tourism-operators-report-big-boost-from-winter-school-holidays Tourism operators report big boost from winter school holidays

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