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Southern Ski Areas Blanketed in Snow

New Zealand A Winner for British Travellers

Tuesday October 20 02:44 PM

New Zealand has turned in a winning performance in the UK, being voted favourite long-haul country by readers of the Guardian, the Observer and guardian.co.uk.

At the annual Reader's Travel Awards announced recently, New Zealand beat Cambodia, Chile, Vietnam and Japan to take the top spot. Air New Zealand was named second-favourite long-haul carrier after Singapore Airlines.
 
Andy Pietrasik, Travel Editor for guardian.co.uk, said the fact that more readers this year voted for New Zealand showed that there were still many travellers seeking to get as far away as possible from the bad news at home.
 
"New Zealand also scored more highly than last year in winning this category, showing that the New Zealand experience has lost none of its appeal during the recession. This will stand it in very good stead as the travel environment improves," he added.
 
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said it was important that New Zealand continued to be recognised by travellers in what was currently a difficult market.
 
In the year to August 2009, New Zealand welcomed 260,000 visitors from the UK, down 10 per cent on the previous year. Arrivals from the UK have been impacted by the global economic downturn which hit the UK in late 2008 and early 2009.
 
Mr Hickton said the award was a positive endorsement by travellers, which supported the message of Tourism New Zealand's 'What Do You Say UK?' campaign. The campaign is currently running online and on television in the UK. Advertisements feature real British travellers recommending New Zealand to other Brits.
 
Tourism New Zealand Regional Manager UK and Europe Gregg Anderson collected the award and said many of the other award winners expressed renewed optimism for the next 12 months.
 
"While the months ahead, including the New Zealand summer, will remain challenging, enquiry levels and bookings continue to improve overall," he said.
 
The Guardian newspaper has a circulation of 332,000, its weekend sister paper the Observer reaches 405,000 readers, while its online version has over 1.5 million unique users.

This is the second win for New Zealand in the UK in recent months. In September, New Zealand was ranked in second place as 'favourite destination' by readers of the prestigious UK Condé Nast Traveller magazine. It was the sixth year in a row that New Zealand ranked in the top five of these awards.

Snow falls overnight and off and on today has blanketed the Southern Alps leaving skiers, snowboarders and mountain crews buzzing with anticipation for the season ahead.

The Remarkables Ski Manager Ross Lawrence said the mid-winter conditions had changed the landscape from green to white.

"We've received 20cm of snow and experienced some good snow falls. It's starting to ease a bit now but temperatures are still very cold at around minus two degrees," he said.

Across the valley at Coronet Peak , 10cm of snow has fallen and continues to fall on the road below the development of the new base building.

Further north, Mt Hutt has received 10cm of snow. Coronet Peak is scheduled to open on Saturday June 7, Mt Hutt on June 14 and The Remarkables, June 21.

Pictured Right: The clowns were out celebrating the new snow at The Remarkables

The Stash at the Remarkables

All major earthworks are now completed on The Stash at The Remarkables, and work has begun on creating the features, including this trapezoid feature (pictured), unique to the kilometre long run.

A Jake Burton signature run, The Stash at The Remarkables is designed to provide riders with a big mountain terrain park that follows the natural lines of the mountain. Features include rock-wall rides, log jibs, cliff drops, a stone hut and other obstacles hidden away.

The Remarkables Manager Ross Lawrence said it was a time consuming process creating the features, particularly the wooden features that needed to be carefully crafted, and finally sanded and coated with polyurethane to enhance slickness and enjoyment for all freestyle riders and skiers.

Scheduled to open for the 2008 winter season, The Stash at The Remarkables is only the third run of its kind worldwide and the first in the Southern Hemisphere.

inter Games Planning Begins

Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 4:38 pm
Press Release: Winter Games NZ

An interim board has been created to develop a proposal to host the inaugural New Zealand Winter Games in 2009.

The New Zealand Winter Games concept has the support of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and the National Olympic Committees of the Pacific Rim, including Canada , the United States , Japan , China , Korea , Mexico and Australia .

The interim board of Winter Games NZ comprises Vito Lo Iacono - Major Events New Zealand; Eion Edgar - President of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Peter Cox - SPARC.

An initial feasibility study has been completed with favourable results and the interim board has contracted Arthur Klap as Winter Games NZ CEO.

Initial funding for the project has come from Major Events New Zealand with a grant of $500,000. Additional funding will be sought from corporate sponsorship and community trusts.

Eion Edgar Chairman of Winter Games NZ believes the New Zealand Winter Games will provide be beneficial New Zealand as a whole, as well as elite winter athletes.

" New Zealand can offer winter athletes with superb facilities and conditions during the European summer and we hope the event will become a regular event on Winter Sport Calendar," he said. "While we can benefit athletes, we believe the event will establish New Zealand as a highly credible winter sports destination bringing significant sporting, social and economic benefits.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Secretary General Barry Maister is delighted the NZOC can lend its support to the New Zealand Winter Games. "The proposed Winter Games will provide our growing winter sports with outstanding opportunities compete against some of the best Winter athletes in the world just ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in 2010."

With feasibility work complete, Winter Games NZ will now appoint a permanent board and establish a charitable trust to manage the development and hosting of the games.  iconRead Winter Games spinoff.pdf

Smaller Hilton plans expansion

By CHRIS MORRIS - Wednesday, 23rd April 2008

New Hilton Hotel

PLANS for a scaled-back $60 million Hilton Hotel in Queenstown have won the approval of the height of the building by 1.6m and the number of hotel rooms by 22.

The concessions were made following a round of court assisted mediation between the developers and concerned neighbours, who feared the impact the hotel would have on their views, and shading during winter. Judge Jackson's ruling, which overturned an earlier Queenstown Lakes District Council decision last year to decline resource consent, meant the hotel could proceed with 103 hotel rooms.

However, Dan McEwan yesterday told the Otago Daily Times plans to expand the complex were already being finalised, with designs for a second wing of 43 hotel rooms already complete. The wing, to be located behind the main hotel complex, would bring the total number of hotel rooms to 146 if granted resource consent.

He said the frustrating resource consent process had resulted in a ''heavily modified'' Hilton Hotel complex, which he doubted would be economically viable without the addition of the second wing. ''A hotel only really becomes viable at 125 rooms and optimal at 175 rooms when it starts to operate well. ''We have got to make the numbers up,'' he said.
He believed the additional wing would not strike hurdles in the resource consent process.

Construction of the main hotel complex on an undulating site at 94-130 Frankton Rd was expected to begin by Christmas and be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, he said.

Pounamu Hotel Nominee Ltd is an offshoot of the Auckland based McEwan Group, which is also planning to develop a Hilton Hotel in Dunedin 's former chief post office building. Mr McEwan said his company's Queenstown Hilton had become a tortuous process since its inception with purchase of the land in September 2001.

He had watched other five star hotel developments such as those planned at Kawarau Falls Station precede while his own dragged slowly through the design and resource consent process, only to be declined, before being approved on appeal. The proposal had attracted 106 submissions, including 63 in support, 41 in opposition, one in partial support and one providing comment.

Independent commissioners Collins and Macleod ruled the application had failed on ''technical grounds'' as a noncomplying activity that would negatively impact on neighbours through shading, loss of views and a visual dominance over the surrounding area.

''I was going to pull the pin on it late last year. It just got too hard,'' Mr McEwan said yesterday. ''But we had done so much work the good old Kiwi spirit comes out and we didn't give in. We kept on fighting.''

Despite the delays and growing competition in the five-star market, Mr McEwan was confident the Hilton brand's international recognition and the development's proximity to downtown Queenstown would now ensure the venture was successful.

''The town certainly needs more high-level accommodation. It's got too much apartment accommodation,'' he said.

''The proof will be in the pudding, when it's finished and it's competing against everything else.''

Environment Court, but the developers are already planning to expand the complex. Judge Jon Jackson, in a decision released to media yesterday, ruled the hotel development could proceed after developers Dan and Kelly McEwan of Pounamu Hotel Nominee Ltd agreed to reduce the

Free Broadband in Studio Rooms

That's right, we are rolling out free broadband in all our studio rooms. This is in addition to the existing PC and printer/fax service we offer for the one and two bedroom apartments.

When booking your studio be sure to ask for a room with FREE BROADBAND. Just plug your laptop in and go !

Thousands converge on Arrowtown for festival street parade

By WILL HINE - The Southland Times | Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Unwitting visitors to Arrowtown on Saturday may have thought there was another goldrush on as thousands swamped the small town for the annual Southland Times Festival Street Parade.

Left: The Soutland Times Pirate Ship Float

Centrepiece of the 11-day Arrowtown Autumn Festival, the parade again proved extremely popular this year, pulling more than 8000 spectators.

Organiser Julie Hughes said the crowd was the biggest she had seen at the event. "It was bigger than it's ever, ever, ever been. How many people? I don't know. Eight thousand, eight and a half?" The streets were absolutely chocka with nary a vantage point left as the mid-afternoon parade wound its way leisurely through the town.

Leading the parade was a long procession of vintage cars, followed by the Arrowtown fire brigade, with a large contingent representing the service as part of its 75th jubilee celebrations.

Then the parade began in earnest, with The Southland Times pirate ship ushering in the rest of the prancing, marching, pomping menagerie.

Comic book and Star Wars characters, cubs and scouts, dogs big and small; this parade had it all.

One boy watching on the town's main street had his cap stolen by a brazen juggler.

Stone-footed for 5 seconds, the lad then capered into the parade in pursuit of the thief, chasing him 100m along the street to the laughs of the watching crowd.

Thousands lingered when the parade ended, many sampling the arts, crafts and entertainment of the TrustPower Market.

Luana Frear, of Lake Hayes Estate, was a volunteer for the day, helping to keep the swelling crowd back as the parade moved through town.

Queuing up for a hard-earned waffle afterwards, she said the day was fantastic.

"It was really good. The weather was just great." Asked to choose a favourite section, Ms Frear said the comic book characters.

"They were the best - they seemed to get amongst the crowd." Spectators Ian and Iris Roberts had come from Dunedin for the whole week, after attending the festival last year. "It was so good last year we rented a house this year," Mr Roberts said.

The couple looked forward to staying the rest of the week and would be checking out more of the festival including a performance of The Importance of being Earnslaw.

The actionflite Red Bull Pitts Special Performed a stunning aerobatic display at the beginning of the street parade.

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Smaller Hilton Plans Expansion

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Thousands converge on Arrowtown for festival street parade

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