Thursday, 9th June, 2016

Winter has arrived and Queenstown is shaping up for another strong winter trading period. Business confidence is high due to unprecedented growth in tourism, increased flight capacity with the launch of evening flights, continued growth in the residential and commercial property markets and strong accommodation occupancy levels predicted for winter.

Along with these strong trading conditions comes the increased demand for labour and associated housing. The Chamber of Commerce is working with employers, developers and construction companies to find medium-longer term solutions around worker accommodation in particular. Shorter term solutions are not so easy to find but all options, including modular and portable housing are being considered by a working group of employers, co-ordinated by the Chamber.

The Queenstown Immigration office has recently undergone a review. After consultation with employers and stakeholders Immigration NZ has made the decision to close the Queenstown office effective 31 August 2016. The office will be replaced by a Business Advisor to assist employers with immigration queries, completion of visa applications during the transition period. It is not expected that visa processing times will change and are expected to improve - full details on the changes are in Chamber Business section below.

DowntownQT has recently launched free Wi-Fi hotspots in Queenstown including the Village Green, Earnslaw Park, The Mall and Beach Street. This is positive news for a premier destination - providing an improved visitor experience and better connectivity to the rest of the world.

I am looking forward to the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival, 24 June - 3 July which marks the start of the winter season. The Chamber are hosting the opening 2degrees Business Lunch which will discuss "Perspectives on Queenstown's Growth as a Visitor Destination". With some of the strong pressures facing the town, this looks to be an interesting and timely topic. This event is nearly sold out - further details in the events section below.

The Queenstown Chamber of Commerce is also experiencing strong growth and we have nearly hit our target of 600 members by the end of June 2016. You can assist the Chamber with referrals and go into the draw to win 2x Cardrona Day Lift passes. Please send referrals to Jo Brown, Membership Manager by 30 June.

Please see below some statistics that may be of interest to you:

Total resident population for Queenstown Lakes District – 28,000 (Census 2013).
Statistics NZ (February 2015) projected population growth rates over the 30-year period (2013–43) are for Queenstown-Lakes district - an average annual increase of 1.8 percent.
Estimated labour requirements for the district are an additional 10,800 full-time equivalents by 2033 (based on average growth rate from 1996-2013). However, should the recent high growth period of 2009-2015 be maintained, this number could be as high as an additional 19,500 FTE’s by 2033. (Queenstown-Lakes Labour Market Assessment Report March 2016)
Approx. $200m worth of residential construction was completed in 2015 and this is expected to increase over the next two years. (Colliers Market Review Report May 2016)
Approx. $200m worth of commercial construction is currently underway in Queenstown with a further $200m proposed over the next two-three years mainly in Frankton Flats area. (Colliers Market Review Report May 2016)
Skyline Queenstown has announced an estimated $60 million redevelopment of its iconic facility. Further details below.
There are approx. 12,000 accommodation beds in Queenstown - 7600 of them are in commercial accommodation.
For the 12 month period of 2015 - record high visitor numbers of 2.7m total annual visitors (70% international 30% domestic) - 7.2% annual growth.
Queenstown Airport passenger numbers are growing strongly, with a high of 1.6 million passengers passing through Queenstown Airport in the 12 months to April 2016.
With the introduction of evening flights - overall flight capacity is scheduled to increase 20% compared to last winter - domestic up 24% and international up 14%.
Peak days this winter are likely to be 9 July and 16 July with 28 landings on each of these days - 15 domestic and 13 international.