It is the perfect place for pictures. But at the moment there are very few tourists.
“It is usually quiet for us in the winter,” says Betty Perkins, owner of the $ 1 million trip that has run boat trips on Lake Queenstown 13 years ago. “But this is not calm.”
This is what left Queenstown – usually one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist attractions – struggling.
New Zealand’s swinging Nevis room may be the most extreme flight in the world, with people tossing nearly 500 feet in just seconds.
All this means that thousands have already lost their jobs.
Bolt says this has brought the town from New Zealand’s richest people to one of its poorest.
“People are worried, they are really concerned about their jobs, their ability to support their families, and their ability to pay their mortgages and rent,” the mayor says, adding that some of the people who lost their jobs were about to retire.
“Ultimately, nearly every job in the region depends on some type of tourism.”
Perkins is one of the lucky ones – she owns her own company, has few employees and has less overhead, which means they don’t have to lay off anyone. However, she estimates her business income has fallen by 70% compared to normal.
“We just have to stop, we’ll wait for Australia to arrive,” she says.
Air New Zealand has unveiled its new sleeping model. Economy Skynest consists of six full-length flat bedrooms in the economy cabin.
It is similar to Dong Wang, who runs a small dumpling cart by the lake. He is the only source of income for his family, but his earnings have fallen from about NZ $ 200 ($ 130) a day to just $ 50.
“I can do nothing,” says Wang, who is from China but has permanent residence in New Zealand. “Finding a job is very difficult.
A worker at a souvenir shop in Queenstown who arrived from China six months ago and did not give her name for fear of reprisal says she was about to become redundant. She says that if she does not find another job, she may have to return to China.
Bolt says the council offers food vouchers, medical aid, aid in paying utility bills and even warm clothes, but he believes the issue of unemployed migrant workers is a “humanitarian crisis in the making”.
Over the weekend, companies reported booming as people from all over the country descended on the city.
However, according to Bolt, companies will “not survive” on local travelers alone. He hopes that the Trans-Tasman bubble will run by July for the ski season, as Australians make up 30-40% of customers.
“This is really difficult or cut off,” he says, adding that if there is no Trans Tasman bubble by July, more companies will fail and lose more jobs.
Bolt believes Queenstown may never return to previous Covid-style tourism levels in terms of arrivals, and is already looking at ways to diversify the city, including whether it can move to the education, film and medical tourism sectors.
All predictions should be taken with a grain of salt, says Simon Millen, professor of tourism at Auckland University of Technology. But he says Queenstown – a place where much of the economy depends on tourism – will be affected more than other parts of New Zealand.
For those who are still able to visit Queenstown, the current situation is not all bad.
Canadians Anna Wilhelmus and Christie Caldwell were in Queenstown on Friday. They reside in Christchurch where they are midway through a year of studying abroad, but they decide to go out to explore the area.
“It is nice to have everything for ourselves,” says Caldwell.