According to new data, the massive influx of thousands of international skiers is set to boost the domestic accommodation sector over the winter season in New Zealand.
Recent figures from Bachcare, New Zealand's most prominent holiday home management firm, have shown that forward bookings for Queenstown and Wanaka during winter are significantly higher than the previous year and pre-COVID levels.
The data shows bookings across the Southern Lakes region have risen by 67 percent compared to last year and by 114 percent compared to 2019. The number of nights sold has also increased by 66 percent versus the previous year and 120 percent compared to 2019.
Holiday home rental accommodation in the Queenstown and Wanaka region during the July school holiday is already at 81 percent capacity.
Nick Peirce, Head of Revenue at Bachcare, shared that while international visitor numbers are forecasted to grow significantly over the coming weeks, some parts of the accommodation market in the Queenstown and Southern Lakes districts have been disrupted by staff shortages throughout the region.
"We can see from the latest data that traffic on our website from Australia is around 13 times higher than it was at the same time last year."
"We also know the holiday home rental is less impacted by labour shortages as they don't require staff for reception areas, food and beverage facilities and maintenance.
"Along with significantly increased trans-Tasman booking numbers, this reflects a growing confidence in the market that we will see a strong winter tourism season."
In contrast to our southern ski fields, accommodation bookings around the Mt Ruapehu area are witnessing a slower start to the ski season.
"Looking at properties around Mt Ruapehu, we can see July bookings are down 38 percent compared to 2021, up 34 percent compared to 2020 and flat compared to 2019," said Peirce.
"Last year, due to the ongoing border closures, guest commitment happened earlier than in previous years. With the border opening, demand for Ruapehu has reverted to the pre-covid pattern."
"The difference between the North Island and Southern Lakes is down to Mt Ruapehu being almost entirely a domestic market, whereas Queenstown has direct flights into the area from Australia and therefore has attracted earlier international sales."