Thursday, 17th March, 2016

As we head into the autumn period it is opportune to reflect on what an extraordinary summer we have had - not only the wonderful weather of course but the strongest trading conditions to date for the town centre with spending up 24% for the period Dec15-Feb16 compared to Dec14-Feb15. Spend for this summer period was also up 46.4% against the last four summers average. Queenstown welcomed $2.9 million visitors last year and this record growth is expected to continue for 2016.

Along with such strong trading conditions comes the increased demand for labour and associated housing. Projections of employment demand indicate that Queenstown faces substantial deepening of its present labour and skills shortages.

323 local businesses, from across a number of sectors, responded to the Chamber’s labour and skills shortages survey. The survey set out to quantify the extent of labour skills and shortages; the perceived drivers of the shortages; the impacts of these shortages as well as businesses own solutions to labour shortages. Some policy and service solutions were also identified. I wish to thank all those business owners who completed the survey - to view the report click here.

The survey forms the basis of a full Labour Market Assessment Report and a Labour Force Strategy for Queenstown-Lakes which are in the final stages of preparation and adoption. The Chamber expects to advocate to Central Government around immigration issues for visa holders while working with other stakeholders on a range of strategy options to attract, retain and accommodate New Zealanders into the local workforce. Shortages of affordable and suitable housing were identified as one of the main barriers to employing both resident and non-resident workers and work is currently being undertaken by Council, business owners and other interested parties to address this pressing issue.

Queenstown Business Leaders China Mission in June: Destination Queenstown, in conjunction with the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce is seeking expressions of interest from senior business leaders in Queenstown to take part in the inaugural Queenstown Business Leaders China Mission in June of this year. The mission will promote Queenstown as a premium visitor destination and a desirable place to study and invest in, and senior staff from across the business community are invited to take part.
Graham Budd, CEO, DQ and myself will be leading the delegation in China with a programme of events including two VIP functions in Shanghai and Hangzhou on 6-8 June. I would like to extend an invitation to Chamber members interested in travelling to China with us. Attendees will gain invaluable insights into Chinese market trends as well as gain market intelligence.
Please email me to register your interest by Thursday 24 March.