New Zealand skiers’ skills will be put to the ultimate test navigating the masses of visiting skiers descending the slopes in high numbers this winter.
The hospitality industry in Wanaka and Queenstown is welcoming the numbers however, with figures from Bachcare showing significant increases in forward bookings this year as opposed to the previous year and pre-Covid levels.
The data shows bookings across the Southern Lakes region are currently up 67 per cent compared to last year and up 114 percent compared to 2019.
The number of nights sold are also up 66 per cent as opposed to the previous year and up 120 percent compared to 2019.
Bachcare revenue head Nick Pierce says while international visitors numbers are expected to increase over the coming weeks, staff shortages have impacted some parts of the accommodation market in the Queenstown and Southern Lakes regions.
“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.”
Nick is more optimistic about the holiday home rentals.
“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,” he said.
The increase in booking could be what ‘normal’ used to look like.
“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.”
So which slopes are going to have more international visitors?
“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.”