Moving fast and furious Queenstowns tourist market

Echoing the wider New Zealand hotel and tourism market, Queenstown has experienced unprecedented growth throughout 2015.

All tourist indicators are easily eclipsing figures from the last three years, with total commercial guest nights tracking to exceed 3.16 million for the year.

Passenger arrivals at Queenstown airport are 24% above 2014 figures, with total passengers for the 12 months August 2014 to August 2015 at 1,427,641 (up 12.4%) and increased capacity on both international and domestic routes.

A new $17 million terminal has improved Queenstown airport’s layout and capacity, with a record day in July seeing 11 international flights and 1,585 international passengers for a single day.

As well as driving positive sentiment and the region’s economy, tourist growth has injected vitality into Queenstown’s hotel and tourism property market.

New hotel developments are becoming increasingly viable, with the buoyant economic conditions and high demand driving the refurbishment of existing three star hotels, such as the Goldridge Hotel (private sale in 2015) and Nugget Point Hotel (Arthur’s Point).

Development sites are actively selling, including a 1.22 hectare consented hotel site close to Lake Wakatipu at Queenstown’s main arterial route at 130 Frankton Road, sold by Colliers International Queenstown for $3.2 million.  There are consented plans for a six level, five-star hotel design on the site.

The buoyant market is also seeing growing international investor demand, particularly from Asian buyers.

Colliers International Queenstown tourism brokers Barry Robertson and Steve McIsaac were involved in the biggest single property transaction in Queenstown’s CBD for 12 years when they sold X-Base Discovery Lodge for $14.1 million earlier this year.

“The growth being experienced in the Queenstown Lakes region is filtering through into high demand for commercial and tourism property among both investors and operators. There is currently zero retail vacancy in the Queenstown CBD so properties are tightly held by owners and keenly sought after by occupiers when they do come to market,” McIsaac says.
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