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No increase in Queenstown foot traffic since last year

Pedestrian crossing

Results of Colliers International's annual Queenstown CBD Pedestrian Count survey

Colliers International’s annual Queenstown CBD Pedestrian Count survey has recorded almost exactly the same number of people pounding the pavements in central Queenstown as on the same day in 2018, in contrast to the large increase recorded between the 2017 and record-breaking 2018 surveys.

The 2019 count, recorded on Wednesday March 13 at 10am, 3pm and 8pm, was down 0.1 per cent overall on 2018. However, both the 10am and 3pm counts were up on last year.

Heather Beard, Colliers International Queenstown Property Valuation Director, says this result is interesting, especially in the case of the 3pm count – given the absence of high school students in the town centre and the fact it was raining.

“At 3pm we had two factors that could have been expected to result in a much lower count than last year. Following Wakatipu High School’s move to Frankton Flats last year, there are generally no high school students in the town centre at 3pm any more.

“Rain during the 3pm count is likely to also have resulted in fewer pedestrians being counted,” she says.

“Given the 3pm count was actually up on 2018, this could potentially point to an effective increase in the number of visitors and residents in the town centre, with these groups making up for the absence of school students and also taking into account the rain factor.”

Colliers’ pedestrian count usually mirrors and reinforces tourism growth patterns in Queenstown and 2019 displayed a continuation of this trend.

While the pace of growth in guest nights in Queenstown has slowed from the highs of 2016, there was still 2.9 per cent growth in guest nights over the year to November 2018 compared with the previous year, according to Stats NZ’s latest Commercial Accommodation Monitor.

There were 3,670,417 guest nights in Queenstown during the year to November 2018.

“Tourism is still one of the strongest factors affecting the property market in central Queenstown. This results in very high demand for retail premises, with restricted supply,” says Beard.

“There is currently zero vacancy in ground floor retail property in central Queenstown. As a result, retail space is still commanding very high rents and there are also very few sales of prime commercial property in the CBD as owners hold on to their assets.”

Once again, central Camp Street (outside O’Connells Mall) had the highest volume of foot traffic in 2019. This location has occupied the number one spot in Colliers’ survey for 15 consecutive years.

Three spots on Camp Street made the top five spots this year, which could be a reflection of the bus network implemented in late 2017 with bus stops on both sides of Camp Street.

Central Church Street (on the eastern side of the street) had a huge increase in foot traffic of over 140 per cent, while Lower Beach Street near the Earnslaw Park toilets was up over 100 per cent.

By contrast, East Camp Street (outside the former post office) had a significant decrease in pedestrians since last year, which could be explained by the post office’s move.

Colliers’ survey is taken in March every year at 31 locations around the CBD, with pedestrian movements counted over half-hour periods at 10am, 3pm and 8pm.

The 10 busiest spots in central Queenstown were:

1.   Central Camp St (O’Connells/McCafe)
2.   Lower Beach St (toilets)
3.   East Camp St (Just Jeans)
4.   Camp Street (Happy Travels, formerly Subway)
5.   Central Shotover St (Huffer)
6.   West Rees St (Kathmandu)
7.   West Rees St (Ugg)
8.   Central Rees St (Pog Mahones)
9.   Central Mall (Max)
10. Upper Beach St (T2)


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Heather Beard

Registered Valuer | Property Consultant


Heather joined Colliers International Queenstown in May 2014 as a valuer, becoming registered in 2017.

Heather’s main responsibilities involve the completion of Current Market Valuations, Rental assessments and Insurance Valuations of commercial and industrial properties throughout the Queenstown region. As well as Managed apartments, tourist accommodation properties, lifestyle and residential.

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