Destination Queenstown (DQ) and Lake Wānaka Tourism (LWT) do not support the development of an airport in Tarras. These regional tourism organisations share the concerns of the Queenstown and Wānaka communities, who are worried about the ‘over-tourism’ created by a third airport in the immediate region.
The airport will enormously increase the number of visitors to the region, which does not align with the quality-over-quantity approach endorsed by the communities, targeting high-contributing visitors and attracting visitors whose values align with the region.
The goal of regenerative tourism by 2030 reflects feedback from communities around the region and is centred around ensuring they thrive socially and environmentally.
Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) Quality of Life research shows that Queenstown and Wānaka residents do not support significant growth in visitor numbers, and the DQ and LWT’s Views on Tourism research shows that residents want to see a focus on reducing the environmental impact of visitors and improving infrastructure. Adjusting visitor volume and visitor origin are two levers of change that can support decarbonisation and regenerative tourism.
However, DQ and LWT support Queenstown Airport in its current location, considering it to be a community asset that the Southern Lakes can be proud of because the ownership model of the airport ensures revenue ultimately comes back to the community.
Under the Tarras proposal, the Southern Lakes region would bear increased pressure on its infrastructure without any associated economic benefits from airport ownership.