Summer struggle for some businesses
Queenstown businesses dependent on good weather are hopeful conditions will improve from the ‘‘horrendous’’ summer they’ve had so far.
The concerns come as Queenstown records an unexpected drop in the number of Chinese tourists visiting.
Visitor and accommodation numbers were not available yet, but Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd said he had heard evidence of the downturn from the resort’s business community.
Queenstown Watersports boss Ben Farren said it had been ’’the worst summer ever’’ in his five years of operating the business.
‘‘It’s been so horrendous. But what can we do? We can probably blame Trump for it.’’
The number of people using the company’s services this year was ’’substantially lower’’ than previous summers, he said.
Weather conditions were bad for almost the whole of January. Most days had been either wet or windy, which prevented Queenstown Watersports from operating to capacity, Farren said.
This summer, the company purchased four custom-made trikes, also known as sea tractors, at a cost of $10,000 each to replace two existing trikes.
Farren said people could ride the trikes in the rain, but customers preferred to enjoy the experience on a sunny day.
‘‘Everyone wants the blue sky photos.’’
Queenstown Paraflights was also a weather-dependent business, but staff had to just ‘‘roll on’’ regardless, business director Quinn Wilson said.
‘‘We will take what we can get. Hopefully we get a good February and March.’’
Paraflights can operate with winds of up to 20 knots, but some gusty days in the Queenstown area were reaching 55 knots.
Wilson said this summer’s weather had felt more like a ‘‘typi- cal spring’’, with high lake levels also recorded.
‘‘You look around the beach and you see people in puffer jackets and and fleeces.’’
Queenstown Paraflights directors Quinn Wilson and Blair Grieve, with part-time worker Rick Niceman.