It’s disappointing to see the vitriol being unleashed on Queenstown at the moment.
Businesses have gone public over the fact that they are getting some pretty awful messages.
Things like: “Queenstown have made their own bed and now they have to lie in it. No pity from someone who like everyone else was overcharged in that town."
We’ve heard it on some of the calls into this station as well, people grumpy at Queenstown for asking for help after years of overcharging.
Well, you might call it overcharging; they call it running a smart business.
There’s no debate. Queenstown is expensive. I recall paying $120 for a bottle of pretty normal whiskey that I would normally pay $70 for in Wellington or Auckland.
That’s a huge mark up, and one that would probably windup a lot of kiwis - but it’s not aimed at us.
It’s aimed at the international market who account for a lot of Queenstown’s tourists normally.
And haven’t we all been offshore in tourism hotspots and paid a lot more than we would normally expect to simply because it is a tourism hotspot?
That’s all that’s happening here. Queenstown is priced for its market.
You can’t realistically argue that Queenstown should price itself lower for us Kiwis. That would be akin to Pacific resorts charging far less than they do because they’re pricing themselves for their local markets.
That’s crazy. If the tourists are prepared to pay more, then you charge more.
And the thing we need to bear in mind is that Queenstown is stunning. It is a highly desirable location for visiting tourists. It’s a premium destination, which is why it charges premium prices.
It’s not trying to rip us off, it’s just trying to make as much money as possible from high value international tourists which ultimately means it rakes in more in GST for the country which ultimately benefits all of us.