Otago Daily Times

Win­ter fes­ti­val on but form un­de­cided

QUEEN­STOWN

- TRACEY ROXBURGH tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz Queenstown · Queenstown · Otago · New Zealand · Wanaka · Invercargill · Oceania

THERE will be a Queen­stown Win­ter Fes­ti­val in 2021 — but what it looks like or when it will be held are still un­known.

Covid­19 forced the can­cel­la­tion of the 46th fes­ti­val this year and in Au­gust its di­rec­tor, Har­ald Ul­rik­sen, was made re­dun­dant by Des­ti­na­tion Queen­stown, which owns the event.

Mr Ul­rik­sen has since taken a job with Great South, based in

In­ver­cargill un­der former DQ chief ex­ec­u­tive Gra­ham Budd.

On Fri­day, in­terim DQ chief ex­ec­u­tive Ann Lock­hart said there ‘‘will be some­thing’’ next win­ter, in part due to fund­ing from the do­mes­tic events fund, al­though the amount re­mained con­fi­den­tial due to com­mer­cial sen­si­tiv­ity.

Ms Lock­hart said it was pos­si­ble next year’s win­ter fes­ti­val would be shorter, which would help mit­i­gate risk given the un­cer­tain­ties around po­ten­tial re­stric­tions on mass gath­er­ings.

It was also pos­si­ble next year’s event would be con­tracted out.

‘‘A lot of the plans for it were in place for this year and that didn’t hap­pen, so it’s not go­ing to take eight months to re­con­vene that.

‘‘There are some other things hap­pen­ing which I’m not privy to, but it could well be part of an ex­tended range of events through win­ter.

‘‘We just don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen [with Covid­19] and that’s the prob­lem — not just for us, but for peo­ple who or­gan­ise events.

‘‘The less risk the bet­ter — I guess in some ways shorter events are [less risky], so that’s what we’re look­ing at.’’

On Fri­day, the Otago Daily

re­ported the Queen­stown Marathon or­gan­is­ers, Iron­man Group Ocea­nia, had been work­ing with the NZ Events As­so­ci­a­tion to lobby the Gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment more so­phis­ti­cated sys­tems to mit­i­gate risk in events, giv­ing or­gan­is­ers some con­fi­dence to plan.

Ms Lock­hart said DQ would ‘‘ab­so­lutely’’ sup­port any such change.

‘‘Any­thing that sup­ports any pro­ce­dures and poli­cies that can be put in place that gives event or­gan­is­ers more surety mov­ing for­ward would be very wel­come, ab­so­lutely.’’

Mean­while, de­tails of the in­vest­ment plan for the Re­gional Event Fund — an $8.5 mil­lion grant to the ‘‘in­ter­na­tional mar­ket­ing al­liance’’ of the South­ern Lakes, com­pris­ing Queen­stown, Wanaka and Cen­tral Otago, were still be­ing ham­mered out.

The plan out­lined how funds would be al­lo­cated, what the gov­er­nance would be and the fund­ing cri­te­ria, for ex­am­ple.

The lat­ter had sev­eral as­pects, but it was ‘‘ma­jorly’’ around boost­ing eco­nomic ben­e­fit within the re­gion by bring­ing more vis­i­tors, she said

Events which had al­ready re­ceived fund­ing from the do­mes­tic events fund were not el­i­gi­ble for the re­gional event fund­ing next year, but could ap­ply in 2022.

Ms Lock­hart hoped to have the plan fi­nalised in De­cem­ber.

 ??  ?? Ann Lock­hart
Ann Lock­hart

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