The Queenstown Convention Bureau (QCB) have reported a dramatic increase in business event enquiries following the recent New Zealand government announcement welcoming vaccinated Australians to enter the country without the need to quarantine from 13 April.

The announcement on 15 March by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, effectively ended nearly two years, with the exception of a three-month “bubble” in 2021, where free business travel between New Zealand and Australia was restricted.

The increase in enquiries experienced by QCB and the return of business events to the region is well accommodated by the significant investment in Queenstown infrastructure and accommodation over the past two years.

Jana Kingston, Business Development Manager – Australia and North America, QCB was delighted with over 60 buyer meetings at AIME in Melbourne, 22 and 23 March at which Queenstown’s new venues and activities were showcased to the meetings and events industry, generating almost 20 leads.

“The timing of the announcement by Prime Minister Ardern could not have been better for QCB; it injected a great level of excitement which immediately generated increased interest in our region and business event booking enquiries.

“The announcement was the crucial piece of information needed to give event planners the confidence and certainty they can once again put Queenstown back on their list.

“To say we are excited to welcome Australian business events and delegates back to Queenstown is an understatement. We have spent two years preparing for this day, we have used our downtime wisely and we are ready to show why Queenstown is still one of the world’s top business event destinations,” said Ms Kingston.

Significant investment over the past two years in accommodation, facilities and services puts Queenstown in a good position to support the return of business events. Accommodation capacity has increased by 38% since June 2018, new activities such as Oxbow and iFly are now available, new restaurants and bars have opened, and airlines have confirmed they will increase flights between Australia and Queenstown.

Kevin Carlin, developer and Chief Executive Officer, The Carlin, was undeterred by the complications posed by the pandemic to build a boutique hotel in Queenstown after identifying an opportunity to provide a luxury accommodation option in the heart of the city.

“The fact our opening is timed with the re-opening of NZ’s borders is serendipitous, but we are very grateful for this seemingly perfect timing. We are already getting bookings from New Zealanders and from overseas.

“After a 30-year association with Queenstown, I know it is one of the most amazing places on the planet and I remain confident in the future of high-value tourism in New Zealand. I’m immensely proud that The Carlin Boutique Hotel and its associated services will ensure Queenstown can deliver a visitor experience of the very highest standard of sophistication,” said Mr Carlin.

Queenstown has long been celebrated for adventure activities, event venues with breathtaking vistas and first-class event experts. It is a world-class destination, welcoming community and sophisticated event experts.