Sum­mer strug­gle for some busi­nesses

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - DASHA KU­PRIENKO

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.

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