More of New Zealand’s ski areas opened at the weekend after some significant snowfalls brought up to 50cm of new cover. However, although the fact that the country’s ski areas are the envy of the world, as they can operate without restriction due to the successful suppression of the virus in New Zealand, resorts are suffering from a lack of international travellers.
Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone have all opened, joining Mt Hutt.
Speaking at the opening of Cardrona ski area (pictured top) for winter 2020 New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that the lack of foreign visitor due to New Zealand’s largely closed borders would hit the country’s ski areas hard this winter and asked New Zealanders to travel at home to support the region.
New Zealand’s ski areas have taken mitigating measures to try to balance the books this season, including closing midweek in low season and many locally based skiers might welcome quieter slopes, but some resorts say they’ll struggle to break-even.
However in regions like Queenstown, where business had been booming and the economy growing much faster than the national average prior to the pandemic lockdown, foreign travellers are responsible for about half of resort turnover in a normal season. New Zealand is in talks to create a ‘travel bubble’ with Australia, its main market for foreign travellers, but rising cases there is thought to have stalled the plan at present.
New Zealand also has a special infrastructure investment package for Queenstown.