Visitors to Wanaka and QueenstownÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ski slopes this season can have their say in the future of the region Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and they could win a return trip for two or some Volkl snow gear.
An online survey, www.snowsurvey.co.nz, has been launched by the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (NZTRI) to assess spending on and around Central OtagoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mountain ranges this ski season.
NZTRI, an AUT University-based research centre, will use the results to quantify the economic impact of visitors to the Southern Lakes ski areas Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Snow Park. Outcomes, such as the impact of tourism on employment and resources, can be used by local businesses for future planning or lobbying.
Participants go in the draw to win a $2000 trip for two to the Southern Lakes area from within New Zealand or Australia, or Volkl skis or snowboard worth $1595.
Survey questions cover accommodation, travel and spending Ã¢â‚¬â€œ from petrol, lift passes and groceries to tours, gondola rides and bungy jumping.
NZTRI Director Simon Milne says the survey is vital for those who depend on the snow industry.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Not only will we have up-to-date information on visitor spend and characteristics, we are also creating a cost-effective, web-based method for the research and planning,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says.
NZTRI research officer Vanessa Clark says the institute can assess the benefits of the snow industry to business by evaluating how much people are spending.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Queenstown and Wanaka are iconic tourist destinations and many of the regionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s businesses are dependent on the visitor dollar,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This survey will show how businesses are directly and indirectly affected Ã¢â‚¬â€œ things such as how many people they can afford to employ each season, the need for expansion and planning for next yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s snow season, for example.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re also interested in the effect of snow-making in extending the snow season. We will see how much money would be lost to the economy without it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The survey was commissioned by the Southern Lakes Ski Areas: Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Snow Park. It runs until the end of the 2005 winter season. Results will be presented to the community and businesses later this year.
Previously NZTRI has undertaken research for the Ski Areas Association of New Zealand at Mt Ruapehu (2001) and Mt Hutt (1999).
NZTRI brings together experts in tourism and hospitality. Its goal is to develop timely and innovative research solutions for the tourism industry and those who depend on it.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is funding the project.